Snyder gets business incentives as state lures large companies to Michigan
LANSING, Mich. (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) -- Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is celebrating a big legislative win.
On Wednesday afternoon, the state legislature passed the Governor's "Good Jobs" for Michigan plan.
Supporters of the plan say the legislation is conscious of taxpayers and is responsible. But critics contend the bill takes your income taxes and puts it in the hands of big corporations.
A handful of Republicans put up a fierce fight in the State House.
"... these projects do not work!" said Republican State Rep. Steve Johnson.
"Do you classify this as corporate welfare?" asked Political Reporter Nick Minock.
“It absolutely is corporate welfare. There's no other way you could classify it,” Johnson answered.
In an unlikely alliance, some House Democrats joined top Republicans in pushing back.
"What is happening right now is these big companies are shopping around state to state threatening that they'll take with them hundreds of thousands of jobs to get a better deal than the state's where they are at,” said Democrat State Rep. Jon Hoadley. “We have to get out of this race to the bottom because you don't get offered those tax credits, I don't get offered those tax credits. It's just the biggest companies with the best lobbyists."
Despite those concerns, the Governor's bill passed both chambers.
The bill sets aside $200 million dollars to lure huge companies Michigan.
Foxconn and other companies are looking to open in Southeast and West Michigan.
State Sen. Wayne Schmidt says rural parts of the state will benefit from those jobs, too.
"When we get those companies, it doesn't matter where they locate in the state,” he said. “That money eventually will make its way up to Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula."
Democratic House Rep. Brian Elder says the bill doesn't give away the new tax incentives to companies easily.
They must first hit important bench marks.
"These tax incentives are only available to entities that have created certified new jobs in the state. Those jobs must be full-time and pay between $20.53 and $25.66 per hour, and for my people, that’s a good living,” said Rep. Elder. “The safeguards put in place by this package ensure that we’re not just blindly handing out tax credits or other incentives — a business must prove its mettle, first.”
Supporters of the bills also say there are safeguards in place.
"We will have until 2019 to reassess and reevaluate whether or not this works for our state,” said Democrat State Rep. Leslie Love.
Gov. Snyder is expected to sign the legislation.
“Michigan has made a tremendous economic comeback in the past six years, and passage of this legislation sends the signal that we are pressing forward to ensure the strongest possible future,” said Gov. Snyder.
The Governor released a statement following the passage of the job bills.
“Where before we were complacent and our economy centered around the Michigan Business Tax and a broken tax code, including an overabundance of tax credits, we are now enacting forward-thinking policies that make us more competitive for new jobs and industries in a fiscally responsible fashion," he said. "We are ensuring a future economy that is diversified and will stand on solid footing, with new jobs for Michiganders for the foreseeable future.”
Republican House Speaker Tom Leonard voted against the job bills.
“Senate Bills 242-244 allow the government to pick economic winners and losers, and that is simply bad tax policy,” said Leonard.” The broad tax cuts and regulatory changes Michigan has embraced instead since 2011 have helped our small, local small businesses grow here at home, and that is the better policy that has built our state’s amazing comeback.”
Leonard and other top House Republicans met with Gov. Snyder behind closed doors leading up to the vote.
“I believe Senate Bills 242-244 are bad for Michigan, and I believe they are especially bad for the community that chose me as its representative,” said Leonard. ”However, a majority of my colleagues disagreed and chose to pursue these bills. I respect their opinion; I simply do not share it.”