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Tue December 27, 2011
DPS assurance bills most likely dead
By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI – A political battle at the state Capitol may put taxpayers on the hook to pay down the debt of Detroit Public Schools. Two bills that would assure the school district's bond insurers that it would not go bankrupt, and would allow the district more time to pay off its debt were prepared for a final vote in the state House on the last day of session for the year.
But Republican and Democratic leaders had a disagreement over an unrelated issue. GOP leaders abruptly ended session before passing the bills that needed to be approved before December 31st.
Democratic state Representative Fred Durhal sponsored the measure. But he left the state Capitol early on the day the bills needed final passage. He says he hopes Republican leaders will revisit the issue in January.
"Sometimes it's kind of like getting a cold and taking castor oil, you have to do what you have to do, but it will make you better in the long run," Durhal says. "But in government we have to look at both the short term and the long term."
A spokesman for the House Republicans says there are no plans to revisit the Detroit schools bills because it's most likely too late for them to matter. The deal between Detroit schools and its creditors to have this measure in place expires at the end of the year, which means the district may be forced to pay its debt at an accelerated rate it has not budgeted for.