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Whitmer approves nearly $1.5 billion in business incentives

Wearing a mask, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signs the bills into law flanked by about ten other people in a warehouse.
Michigan Executive Office of the Governor
A proposed General Motors electric vehicle battery factory could bring 1,700 jobs to the Mid-Michigan area, according to documents from the automaker.

Bills signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer Monday are creating two new economic development funds totaling nearly $1.5 billion.

The larger $1 billion fund would target big projects. The $500 million 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 a 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. Lansing is a potential location for a General Motors electric vehicle battery 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 its “corporate welfare.” There’s also 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. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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