“The decision of a federal bankruptcy court judge to put city workers’ hard-earned pensions on the bargaining table was a sobering moment not only for Michigan’s largest city, but for everyone in our state.
“By allowing the pensions of Detroit workers to be reduced or even eliminated as part of the city’s bankruptcy proceedings, Judge Steven Rhodes has put all public employee pensions at risk. His ruling sets a dangerous precedent that would allow cities, counties and the state to take back pensions that our friends and neighbors have earned through decades of service as police officers, firefighters, teachers and other public servants. This step could dissuade some of our most talented and dedicated young people from considering a life of public service, and it is a slap in the face to the men and women who have dedicated their lives to bettering their communities.
“I have always believed that Michigan cannot truly succeed without a strong Detroit. Unfortunately, rather than working with Detroit to nurture the city’s rebirth, our governor and Republican-led Legislature have shortchanged the city at every opportunity. The state helped make this mess, and it now has a responsibility to help clean it up. By reversing course and recognizing that Michigan and Detroit’s futures are intertwined, Michigan can also take a leading role in the city’s renaissance.
“Even worse, the ruling is likely the tip of the iceberg of a precedent that will likely be disproportionately targeted at central cities with large minority populations and high rates of poverty. Like the emergency manager law, it is based on trying to fix urban challenges by cutting middle class jobs and by slashing funds, rather than through attracting and retaining businesses, residents and the best and brightest employees.”