Skubick: Snyder looks to Democrats for support on Detroit deal - New York News

Skubick: Snyder looks to Democrats for support on Detroit bankruptcy deal

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LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -

It's not a blank check from the state, but it will still be a tough sell.

Asking non-Detroit lawmakers to do anything to help the City of Detroit is never easy but here goes the governor, with substantial help from Democrats, to help ease the pain of retired Detroit employees who face a massive bite out of their retirement checks under the bankruptcy scheme being worked out in the courts.

The governor advises his plan will "not make them whole" but if he gets what he wants it will make them feel a lot better.

For over a week Gov. Rick Snyder has been talking up finding $350 million from state government to match a pledge from foundations that not only want to help the retirees but save the art work at the Detroit Institute of Arts at the same time.

They were not exactly falling all over themselves in the legislative ranks to line up behind their governor on this one.

At the back of the line was Sen. Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw.)  He looks at the overall deficit in the retiree system, which he says is something like $3.5 billion, and concludes the governor's proposal "is like peeing in the ocean."  

It's only a matter of time before other Republicans become more vocal about the "deal" which is moving along.  A closed door session between the governor and the four legislative leaders this week showed signs of progress.

The GOP leaders want lots of strings attached, Sen. Randy Richardville calls them "ropes," to make sure the money in Motown is not wasted.

Once more, the governor will depend on Democrats to do most of the heavy lifting, assuming many Republicans stiff their governor on this one.

It's become a subtext for this governor.

He wanted to build a bridge.  Republicans said let's not.  Democrats said let's do.

He wanted to insure 370,000 needy families without health insurance.   Many Republicans balked.  Democrats voted yes and minus their support, the governor would have lost.

So will this bi-partisan strategy work for the retirees?  It could get ugly but will provide another test of this governor's leadership skills.

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