APART from more money, what the city of Detroit needs most is certainty. Both are in short supply at the moment. On March 21st a state-appointed review team unanimously agreed that it is suffering a “severe financial emergency”. The day before, Moody’s had downgraded more than $2.5 billion of the city’s debt, citing its lack of cash. Amid this deepening financial crisis the state of Michigan, local unions, the mayor, the city council and the courts are battling over the future of Motor City.
The simplest solution, a state bail-out, is tricky. Both the governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, and the head of the state’s House Appropriations Committee, Chuck Moss, argue that yet another infusion of cash will not solve Detroit’s underlying problems. To prove his point, the governor recently reminded citizens that the city has borrowed $600m since 2005 just to get by. It is also planning, with some state support, to issue $137m in bonds in order to refinance its debt and create cashflow that will allow it to totter on until the end of the financial year.
面对底特律棘手的现状，州政府救助这一看似最简单的解决方法已无济于事。密西根州州长Rick Snyder，连同州众议院拨款委员会委员长Chuck Moss表示即使再次注入资金也无法从根本上解决底特律所面临的问题。为了证实这一点。最近州长出面告知底特律居民，自从2005年起，底特律已举债6亿美元，且这笔钱仅够市政府勉强维持正常运营。除此之外，在州政府的协助下，底特律还计划发行价值一亿三千七百万美元的债卷，筹集来的资金用于债务重组和资金注入，好让这座汽车城蹒跚移到本财政年度期末。
Detroit’s financial problems have been building up for decades. City revenues have been hit by the collapse of manufacturing, declining property values and the flight of better-off people to the suburbs. At the same time, the cost of servicing a still-sprawling city has not shrunk in proportion. Like many of America’s struggling municipalities, Detroit is paying pensions, entitlements and salaries far larger than it can afford.
Without new loans, the city will run out of cash in mid-May. The state is pushing it hard to sort out its structural deficit. Late last year it began a financial review of Detroit which was the legal prelude to bringing in an unelected emergency manager, as Michigan has done in several other distressed cities.
Mr Snyder has said he would rather not use these laws in Detroit, and there is reason to believe him. Not only have they never been applied to a city this size, but the takeover of a black city (with an all-black mayor and council) by a white governor has become racially charged. At one recent public meeting the crowd was unruly. “Before we let you take over our city,” one activist shouted, “we will burn it down!”