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Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Support Detroit’s renewal, for Michigan's sake

Business Leaders for Michigan supports the state taking steps to accelerate Detroit’s exit from municipal bankruptcy in a sound fiscal condition. We also support the state making a significant contribution to the comprehensive financial restructuring plan developed by the Emergency Manager and the establishment of a financial oversight process to ensure the maintenance of sound fiscal practices that will improve city services.

Our Michigan Turnaround Plan recognizes the importance of cities, particularly Detroit, to the state’s economic growth. Detroit and Michigan’s other major cities disproportionately drive the economy, including our ability to manufacture, sell goods and services, retain talent and drive innovation.

Of the 20 largest U.S. metros, Detroit ranks first in the share of its output that is exported to foreign and domestic markets. It ranks fourth among large metros for electronic vehicle technology specialization and exceeds the national average for patents issued per 1,000 workers. Detroit also has a higher ratio of workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields than other metro areas.

The city’s success matters to all of us and Michigan voters clearly understand this. Recent polls, including one conducted for Business Leaders for Michigan, show that the majority of voters from every part of the state recognize the importance of Detroit to the state’s economy and support the state making a significant financial contribution to a restructuring plan.

Voters are keenly aware that around the world, Michigan’s reputation and image are driven by perceptions of Detroit. For example, the whole state is benefitting from Detroit’s stronger economy and recent positive global media coverage of Detroit’s redevelopment. The financial restructuring plan gives Detroit the ability to implement sound fiscal management practices, provide effective public safety and deliver cost-effective and reliable basic services. These actions will help the city grow and that will benefit the entire state.

The good news is that Detroit already is developing a strong foundation for its future. New residents are moving into the city. Businesses in the city are growing and continue to invest. More people are working downtown. More students are going to college in Detroit. Visit the city today and you’ll see tangible evidence of this spirit.

But that momentum is fragile and cannot be jeopardized by a prolonged bankruptcy.

Michigan voters say they want to make this plan a reality, and the state’s business leaders agree. We all want a city at its best, one that is safe, clean and more effectively managed.

Together, we all can provide strong support to the city that defines our state’s global identity by aligning behind the plan that is currently before the Michigan Legislature. With it, we have an opportunity to help Detroit through the largest municipal bankruptcy in history and emerge in sound fiscal condition.

Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan. Bridge does not endorse any individual guest commentary submission. If you are interested in submitting a guest commentary, please contact Ron French. Click here for details and submission guidelines.

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