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Highland Park bailout passes Michigan Senate

In party-line vote, Michigan’s upper chamber approves $20M water bill bailout for Detroit suburb

The full Michigan Senate has approved a $20.3 million partial bailout of Highland Park’s $24 million water bill arrearage.

The bailout is tucked into Senate Bill 190, the appropriations bill covering the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The bailout is tucked into the health department’s “healthy homes” program.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill last week, and the full Senate approved it Wednesday in a party-line vote, 20-18.

Related reading: Should the people of Michigan pay Highland Park’s water bill?

The words “Highland Park” are never mentioned in the bill. One would need to read the Senate Fiscal Agency analysis of Senate Bill 190, or be expert at Michigan geography, to know what city is described by these words:

...to relieve outstanding debt and payments owed to the regional water system on behalf of a city with a population between 8,000 and 9,000 according to the most recent federal decennial census and in a county with a population over 1,500,000 according to the most recent federal decennial census.

Read it for yourself: Senate Bill 190

That’s Highland Park, population 8,900, a community in Wayne County, Michigan’s only county with more than 1.5 million people.

The bailout owes to a $24 million water bill Highland Park ran up for a decade between the Detroit water system and the Great Lakes Water Authority. The state bailout would have Michigan taxpayers cover about 85% of the arrearage.

To pass into law, Senate Bill 190 would need to pass the Michigan House and Senate in identical forms, then be signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.