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Incentives package tops $1 billion to lure business investment

Henryk Sadura Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock

The Legislature worked late into the night to adopt a complex and controversial business-attraction plan. Its centerpiece is a $1 billion dollar fund that would be used for incentives, especially to win electric vehicle factories. General Motors is looking at two locations in Michigan, while Ford recently opted for sites in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Republican Senator Ken Horn chairs the Senate Economic Development and Small Business Committee. He says this will make Michigan more competitive.

“The ‘lost decade’ should have been behind us sooner, but here we are today future-proofing Michigan’s economy,” he said during the Senate floor debate. “This is the day the eyes of the world turn our way and we’ll be ready.”

The bill was adopted with bipartisan support in the Senate and the House. It also drew bipartisan opposition.

“I’m disappointed that we’re here trying to bribe companies to come to Michigan rather than investing in making Michigan the best state to be in,” said Democratic Senator Jeff Irwin. “We’re moving quickly to pass a billion dollars in corporate welfare. Meanwhile, we’ve got people sleeping on our streets. We’ve got a broken mental health system. We’ve got schools that are trying to educate our children with 25 percent less dollars than they got 15 years ago in inflation-adjusted dollars.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer praised the legislation, which now goes to her desk.

“Thanks to the effective collaboration of legislative leadership in both parties, our state will be competitive for every dollar and every job for years to come,” she said in a statement issued by her office. “I am confident that, together, we can continue to create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs and uplift our communities by setting up this critical economic development fund.”

The package also includes funds to assist businesses hurt by COVID-19 restrictions and a tax break for business equipment purchases.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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