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City of Detroit is financially 'insolvent'

May 14, 2013
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Source: CNN Money

Detroit is struggling under at least $15 billion in debt, due to years of borrowing to pay its bills as tax revenues plummeted. The population of the city has fallen by nearly 30% since 2012, and there are currently over 100,000 vacant lots and buildings. Together, this has meant a drastic drop in revenue from both income and property taxes.

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"The city has effectively exhausted its ability to borrow," he writes in the report, adding that the city "is clearly insolvent." To avoid running out of cash before the end of its fiscal year on June 30, it must "defer payments on its current obligations," including more than $100 million in pension payments that are due.

"No one should underestimate the severity of the financial crisis," Orr said in a statement. "The path Detroit has followed for more than 40 years is unsustainable and only a complete restructuring of the city's finances and operations will allow Detroit to regain its footing."

Detroit is struggling to come up with annual debt payments of about $246 million, which eat up almost 20% of the its general fund budget. Orr says the city needs relief from the money it owes, suggesting that investors holding its debt could end up taking haircuts.

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