Flint Expatriate Rand Simberg has a fascinating blog called Transterrestial Musings that's tackling the idea of shutting down parts of Flint to make the rest of the city economically viable. He's getting some comments from readers who point out that Flint could go a lot further than simply turning parts of the city over to the county.
For example, why not create a commonwealth — like Puerto Rico with bad weather, good hockey, and blander food — in Michigan.
Jim Bennett says:
"This has been discussed in Detroit for a while. I suppose it the area were given back to county jurisdiction there would be no obligation for the county to provide any greater amount of police or fire services than they do to rural areas. Also, in Michigan, any unincorporated part of a county automatically is organized as a township, so there would be some vehicle for providing some governmental services locally. Rico with bad weather, in Michigan?
"Of course the Federal government could try exempting such areas from federal taxation, which would certainly revive them. That’s been proposed for DC. But that’s probably too radical, so I suppose they’ll just get torched.
"I’ve thought of the idea of taking some of the rapidly depopulating parts of the Great plains and offering them the option of becoming a commonwealth on the model of Puerto Rico. It would require the consent of the states involved, but hey, it would relieve them of a big expenditure obligation. No Senators, no presidential vote, just a non-voting delegate in the House. Still US citizens. But no federal taxes. Like the “buffalo commons” idea, only for libertarians. A 'libertarian commons.'"