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Skubick: More state dollars for Detroit a question mark

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The dome of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing.  Legislators could soon be asked to send more state dollars to Detroit to help the new emergency financial manager.  (Credit: Fox 2 News) The dome of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing. Legislators could soon be asked to send more state dollars to Detroit to help the new emergency financial manager. (Credit: Fox 2 News)
LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -

Now that an emergency financial manager has been appointed for Detroit, what can be expected from Lansing?  Top Republican leaders say not a blank check.

Many believe it is important for the governor to score some early success with his new emergency financial manager.  That could mean the governor will ask lawmakers for some financial aid to get there.

"He's got to figure out how to put at least a couple hundred million dollars in the hands of this person," said Sen. Bert Johnson, a Democrat.

However, the Senate Republican leader and the House Republican speaker are not about to put that amount of money in anybody's hands without some guarantees that it will work.

"There is no interest [in] our caucus in funding business as usual," said House Speaker Rep. Jase Bolger.

The Senate Republican leader said the whole state will "take a hit" if Detroit fails, but if the city wants lawmakers to impose a higher income tax rate on non-residents to raise more dollars, well, that could be in trouble.

"We'll talk about that," said Sen. Randy Richardville.

"Not very much, though, will you?" I asked.

"Probably not, especially the non-residents that feel that they've paid their tax burden already," he responded.

The governor has told Detroit residents to give the emergency financial manager a month to demonstrate some progress, but if that requires an influx of state dollars, Johnson doesn't see the Republican support.

"I don't know that this legislature would really have the appetite for the kind of money, the kind of resources that will really be necessary," he said.

Meanwhile, attorney Andrew Patterson asked the court to stop the emergency financial manager from going into office.  He contends the governor did not have the legal right to negotiate the contract.

"All of his interviews in his search process have no authority in law, and he's spending state money that he's not authorized to spend," he said.

However, the judge did not immediately block the emergency financial manager.

For his part, the Republican speaker said he wants to see Detroit fixed, but he reported the state has already spent a lot of money with the new lighting and transportation programs there, and more money now, that's a question mark.

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