Detroit’s cash crisis: Blame the banks?

Updated

There’s a fierce fight waging in Detroit over a planned state takeover to help the city dig out from a staggering $14-billion debt. The city council pleaded with the state on Tuesday to reconsider Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to appoint an emergency manager who would essentially take control of the city.

Opponents say the new manager will have authority to bust up unions and rework contracts with city workers. But Mayor Dave Bing has seemingly accepted that this is going to happen.

David Dayen, who wrote about the topic for The National Memo, told msnbc host Chris Jansing that Detroit got to this point not only because of the flight from the city to the suburbs and the loss of manufacturing jobs in the auto industry but also because of something called “bank walkaways.”  That’s when a bank starts to put a homeowner in foreclosure, but never completes the process. It leaves the building empty and often no one paying the taxes.

“There was a GAO [General Accounting Office] study in 2010 that showed 500 such cases in Detroit in just four zip codes. That was in 2010,” Dayen said. “This has only gotten worse since then.”

The city could go after the banks, Dayen explained, “but of course we’re in a situation where Detroit doesn’t have any money and doesn’t have the ability to do that. So its hard to really figure out whats going on there.”

According to an analysis by The Detroit News, half of all property owners didn’t pay taxes last year, totaling $246.5 million last year.

Governor Snyder is expected to make a final decision on a Detroit takeover by the end of the month.

Detroit's cash crisis: Blame the banks?

Updated