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Detroit Regional Chamber Statement on Proposed City Charter Revision

DETROIT (April 29) – Detroit’s rebirth is no more a foregone conclusion today than it was when it
emerged from the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy. The recommended amendments to the charter put the city on a perilous fiscal path that undermines the progress made since.

After the hard-fought achievements of the Grand Bargain, we should not throw away that financial discipline only to replace it with a $2 billion hole in the city’s budget. The financial imbalance the charter revisions generate will harm the city’s ability to deliver needed services to its residents and sends a message of financial instability to current and potential businesses while risking another painful trip through bankruptcy.

Over the past few years, Detroiters worked hard to show the world that the City is a great place where businesses and workers can succeed, with a well-functioning city government. The charter adds cumbersome bureaucracy that will curtail both economic development efforts and efficient service delivery to residents. This additional bureaucracy will also hamper the city’s ability to accelerate out of the pandemic shutdowns and make the most of the American Rescue Plan resources.

Furthermore, during a time when policing is top of mind for everyone, these revisions dilute accountability of policing in the city and prevent the ability of the Mayor to effectively oversee public safety.

Coming out of the pandemic, Detroit is yet again facing a historic moment. Strong, effective and fiscally sound government is needed to meet the challenge, which will be made more difficult should the proposed charter be enacted.

– Sandy K. Baruah, President and Chief Executive Officer, Detroit Regional Chamber