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House passes economic development incentive bills

Michigan House of Representatives
Reginald Hardwick

A bill package creating funds to incentivize business investment in the state has passed the Michigan House with bipartisan support.

House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Farwell) says it was a wake-up call when Michigan was passed up a few months ago for a massive auto investment from the Ford Motor Company.

“That sent shockwaves through—through our state and we need to make sure that we have the resources and the tools ready to be competitive across the country,” Wentworth said.

In a written statement, House minority leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.) echoed Wentworth in outlining the need for such an incentive program.

“You either adapt or you die. Well, it’s time we adapt,” Lasinksi said.

Yet it’s unclear which companies would benefit from these funds or where the money would come from. While the bills passed with ample support on both sides of the aisle, they also attracted bipartisan opposition.

State Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) called the package “anti-free market.”

Meanwhile, state Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit) said the state would be better off spending the money on infrastructure.

“Often companies have already made their decision on where they are going based on a number of other factors. And the incentive is their last attempt to collect a little bit of money,” Thanedar said.

There have been rumors the plan is an attempt from lawmakers to attract a specific project.

After the vote, Wentworth declined to comment on whether he had signed a non-disclosure agreement preventing him from discussing.

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