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Whitmer signs bills to create new economic development funds totaling more than $1 billion

Mike Petrucci

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bills Monday to create new economic development funds totaling almost $1.5 billion.

The larger $1 billion dollar fund would target big projects. The $500 million pool would be directed more toward small businesses.

“This will set Michigan up to attract billions in private investment and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs for Michigan,” Whitmer said at the signing ceremony in Detroit.

A sense of urgency led to the swift bipartisan agreement in the Legislature to create the two funds in the final days before lawmakers begin their winter break. That was after Ford chose to locate two electric vehicle factories in Kentucky and Tennessee, not Michigan. Lansing is a potential location for a General Motors electric vehicle factory.

Whitmer said other companies are also eyeing Michigan for projects that could bring in billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs.

“We know the next 20 months will determine what the next 20 years looks like,” she said.

But the new law also has critics who say it's “corporate welfare.” There have been complaints about the secrecy surrounding the GM deal, including elected officials signing non-disclosure agreements.

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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