More help may be on the way for the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), as the state of Michigan has proposed to give Detroit $350 million over the next 20 years, as reported in the Detroit Free Press. The money would bolster the bankrupt city’s pension coffers and help fulfill a proposed deal that would free the DIA from city ownership. Local and national foundations and individuals have already pledged a combined $330 million toward the deal.
The money could come from Michigan’s tobacco settlement funds and would require that a third party be responsible for managing the funds, said Governor Rick Snyder at a press conference this afternoon. The plan would lessen cuts to the pensions of Detroit retirees, which face predicted shortfalls of anywhere from $650 million to $3.5 billion. In addition, it would allow the DIA to become an independent nonprofit, preventing the city from selling the museum’s art collection to satisfy Detroit’s debts.
Despite having the support of Governor Snyder, the Senate majority leader and the speaker of the House, this use of taxpayer money must be approved by the state legislature.
In a statement, the museum called today’s announcement “continued good news for the City of Detroit, its pensioners and the DIA,” and said that it “underscores the importance of the DIA in building a strong, healthy city and state.”