|Deep Cuts Won't Revive Detroit: Opposing View|
April 27, 2014/USA Today
By M. Roy Wilson
The last nine months of bankruptcy proceedings have been filled with difficult decisions. Sacrifices have been made by all parties involved with a singular goal in mind— creating a stronger Detroit. I disagree with the notion that citizens and pensioners will not sacrifice enough in the current bankruptcy proposal.
Despite working hard for decades and playing by the rules, retirees stand to receive reductions in not only pension checks but also health care.
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Yes, the pension funds were irresponsibly managed and the city's books moving forward have to be balanced. Even so, if the goal of this bankruptcy reorganization is to get the city back on its feet again and encourage people to return to Detroit, it would be shortsighted to increase the burden on retirees, or to sell off one of America's great art collections.
As someone who recently joined this community from Washington, D.C., I feel an obligation to let the rest of the country know that Detroit's success isn't part of a bygone era. We are still in the early stages of rebirth, but many parts of Detroit are alive and well.
While still making great cars and music, our economy is rapidly diversifying and our heartbeat is palpably stronger. For example, in downtown and midtown, dozens of new businesses have opened in the past year, residential occupancy rates are at capacity and crime is down significantly.
All this was made possible by investment, not by deeper cuts.
A stronger Detroit cannot emerge without addressing blight or upgrading city services such as police, firefighting and lighting. The city's proposed plan of adjustment will free up $1.5 billion over 10 years to make critical investments in all these areas, which will greatly improve quality of life for current residents as well as attract new residents and businesses.
An unprecedented level of cooperation has Detroit positioned to emerge from bankruptcy this fall on its firmest financial footing in 50 years.
Asking Detroiters or the pensioners who built and protected this great city for so many years to give more in bankruptcy will not strengthen this great American city. It will interrupt its inspiring re-emergence.
M. Roy Wilson is president of Wayne State University in Detroit.