In Michigan, Detroit would be the sixth city placed under state oversight. Pontiac, Flint, Ecorse, Allen Park and Benton Harbor already have managers, as do public school districts in Detroit, Highland Park and Muskegon Heights.
A review team first looked into Detroit's books in December 2011 but stopped short of declaring a financial emergency. A second team began to pore over the city's finances again this past December and gave Snyder a report last month that said the city's accumulated deficit as of June 30, 2012, would have topped $900 million if leaders in previous years had not issued bonds.
The review team also said that because of Detroit's cash deficit, the city would have had to either increase revenues or decrease expenditures — or both — by about $15 million per month for three months starting in January to "remain financially viable."
A brochure produced by the state and distributed Friday said that an emergency manager could "more quickly and efficiently reform the finances in the city and stop the cycle of overspending and one-time fixes. Solving the structural problems will create a strong financial foundation that will allow Detroit to survive."
Snyder's declaration is the latest in a string of embarrassing setbacks to befall Detroit in recent years.
Explicit text messages made public in 2008 revealed the tawdry affairs and other shenanigans by the city's then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, leading to criminal charges and eventually prison time for him.
The 2010 census revealed that Detroit — which at one time was the symbol of American progress and held great political power thanks to the auto industry — had lost a quarter-million people over the previous decade.
An undermanned and underpaid police force sometimes appears overwhelmed by the city's high violent crime rate, and the number of murders is on the rise.
Snyder said he expects an emergency manager to get to work immediately once appointed.
"It took 50 or 60 years to get in this situation, so it doesn't turnaround overnight," Snyder told the AP. "I would hope there are more low-hanging-fruit things that can be done fairly quickly to start showing there's a difference going on."