Michigan cities plead and beg

The latest signs of the increasingly dire budget mess facing Michigan communities...

In a letter to outgoing Governor Jennifer Granholm,  the attorney for the City of Hamtramck argues that the right to declare bankruptcy, and finally work around rigid union contracts, is critical for his and other financially distressed cities to achieve fiscal stability.
Some so-called experts pretend that it is some great mystery why governmental units like Detroit Public Schools, Ecorse, Highland Park and Hamtramck are chronically underfunded. But there is no mystery. The "experts" do not want to confront the reason that stares them in the face: These governmental units cannot afford their labor contracts and state law gives them almost zero flexibility to do anything about that fundamental fact, especially where revenue projections do not pan out due to unforeseen circumstances. Instead these experts rely upon the canard that these units are broke because they are run by incompetent crooks. While some of these governmental units have suffered from isolated issues of mismanagement and corruption, the problems are much, much bigger than that.
In a letter to churches, schools and other nonprofits, the Mayor of the City of Mount Clemens took hat in hand and asked organizations that typically receive donations to give them:
One of the most challenging dilemmas the City faces in trying to balance its budget each year is that 42 percent of the property in Mount Clemens is tax exempt. These properties receive the same services as the tax paying properties which places a tremendous burden upon the 58 percent of property owners that pay taxes......The City is asking tax-exempt properties to consider playing a part in helping to support our municipal budget.