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Is the state to blame for local financial distress?

A Flint resident holds a jug of tainted Flint water.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

There is a lot of controversy surrounding Michigan’s use of emergency managers. The Flint water fiasco, the decline of the Detroit Public School system – that all happened under the watch of state-appointed emergency managers.

While much has been said and written about Detroit getting through bankruptcy quickly, there are a lot of long-lasting effects of the city’s time under an emergency manager, including, but certainly not limited to, Belle Isle Park being turned over to state management, which some Detroit residents find frustrating.

There’s also the whole question of losing democratic rule. Mayors, city councils, school boards are left powerless.

A new study out of Michigan State University looks at what causes the kind of municipal money problems that led to a state takeover. Among the findings is that the state itself contributes to the problem. 

Eric Scorsone is an economist with Michigan State University and a co-author of the report. He joined us today to discuss the study. 

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