The Craig Fahle Show

Can Detroit Pay Its Bills After Bankruptcy?

Friday, August, 1 2014

Can Detroit pay its bills after bankruptcy? That’s the big question Bridge Magazine’s Mike Wilkinson asked – and answered -- in a series of stories examining the taxes the city collects from residents and businesses, including casinos.

During this segment, Mike and’s Sandra Svoboda share what’s in his stories with a look toward what the tax rates indicate about how the city has and will operate, pre- and post-bankruptcy. Mike also reports on pay, staffing and pension levels in the city – are they too high? – and how city funds are spent. “When you see where the money is going, you see why the city is under the review of Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes,” Mike says.

Residents and businesses face obstacles when located in the city, Mike reports. But a national report showed it’s not a dire situation at least for commercial enterprises. “Detroit shockingly was in the middle of the pack to a little above average. It’s not as business friendly as some cities but it’s not as bad as you would have thought,” he says. “The city does have a situation where it can offer incentives and bring people in.”

But Mike and Sandra also discuss the need for a conversation about tax reform when the city comes out of bankruptcy. Should the utility tax be eliminated? Will property tax reassessments lower the burden for homeowners? How might these issues change a year from now, when the bankruptcy may be a chapter in Detroit’s history.

Find more coverage of Detroit's bankruptcy and its impact on people and neighborhoods on WDET's Next Chapter Detroit blog.

Powered by The Detroit Journalism Cooperative with support from The James L. Knight Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and Renaissance Journalism's Michigan Reporting Initiative.