Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pregaming today's council/mayor head-to-head

Posted By on Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Looking for a way to kill time before this morning's headline bout  -- the Tangle in the Triangle -- between Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and City Council? 

Once you're done praying that it won't be as gruelling as yesterday's match-up, you might check out the latest in municipal bankruptcy news, courtesy of yesterday's New York Times:

"We can make it until March 1 -- maybe," Mr. Cooper said of Hamtramck's ability to pay its bills. Beyond that? The political leaders of this old working-class city almost surrounded by Detroit are pleading with the state to let them declare bankruptcy, a desperate move the state is not even willing to admit as an option under the current circumstances

"The state is concerned that if they say yes to one, if that door is opened, they'll have 30 more cities right behind us," Mr. Cooper said, as flurries fell outside his City Hall window. "But anything else is just a stop gap. We're going to continue to pursue bankruptcy until the door is shut, locked, barricaded, bolted."

Or check out this recent Slate piece, about GOP plans to use government pensions as a cudgel against public-safety unions. And there's talk about giving states, at least, the right to file for bankruptcy:

What could the pension fund people and the public sector unions be so worried about? Right-leaning Reuters columnist James Pethokoukis laid it out for them. If the states aren't bailed out, they're going to have to start cutting budgets. If there's total transparency about pension funds-- and voters are already in the mood to shave the benefits and numbers of public workers--then that's where you can cut. Republicans might even be able to pass legislation that would allow states to declare bankruptcy, which would move the pension debate from politics to court, zapping all of the unions' leverage. "From the Republican perspective," wrote Pethokoukis, "the fiscal crisis on the state level provides a golden opportunity to defund a key Democratic interest group."

Now let's get ready to st-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-m-ble! 



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