Refreshing words. Words that could come from the most hopeful of Detroit city advocates, but it’s not some starry-eyed resident of the city. It’s the word of the Governor of the state of Michigan.
In addition to delivering a reinforcement of the recent fiscal review team report, today Governor Rick Snyder also showed his relentless positive action in full effect. This is going to come in handy when it comes to Detroit’s crisis.
When it comes to Detroit, “This problem is solvable.”
The focus can’t just be on the books, even though the Governor did outline many of the issues with a system that’s simply not working. He stopped short of placing blame on any particular politician. His focus was more on the future.
“We’re talking about 700,000 people. This isn’t simply about balancing a set of books. This has to be about improved services to real people. The citizens of Detroit deserve better police protection, fire protection, transit, streetlights .. the list goes on,” said Snyder.
The Governor also indirectly addressed critics who believe the takeover is an attempt to take Detroit for what’s left. He spent a lot of time talking about getting people to move into the city.
A chart provided by Data Driven Detroit showed in graphic detail the population decline over recent decades. This put an exclamation point on Snyder’s re-population theme and highlighted the importance of handling the crisis as soon as possible.
“Who’s going to want to stay in Detroit or move into Detroit if all they hear is fighting and blame?” asked Snyder. Considering the amount of fighting and blame that has been in the headlines and accompanied the mass exodus over the last ten years, a reasonable person might think he’s on to something.
For Snyder himself, politically, the easier thing is to hit the proverbial nuke button on Detroit. Mathematically, he doesn’t need the votes. So what’s the reason to deal with this? Maybe he actually gets something many leaders have missed over the years, but us Detroiters intrinsically know.
“I believe Michigan is on the path to be a great state again. For our state to say that, we need Detroit on the path to be a great city again. And I’m committed to do that.”
CHARTS, GRAPHS FROM THE DETROIT FINANCE UPDATE PRESENTATION
Detroit City General Fund Revenue, Budget to Actual Variances
City of Detroit General Fund Deficits and Impact of New Borrowing
Chart of Detroit’s City population from 1880-2010