Michigan House Approves $1.3 Billion Spending Bill; $630 Million for Ford Subsidy

by Scott McClallen


The Michigan House approved a $1.3 billion spending bill with about half going to a planned Ford electric vehicle battery plant in Marshall.

The House voted 59-49 on House Bill 4016, which the Senate approved a day prior.

The planned $630 million to prepare site development of Ford’s $3.5 billion plant is piled onto $1 billion of promised incentives for the factory. The spending aims to bring 2,500 jobs to Calhoun County, which has lost about 2,000 jobs over the last 20 years.

The bill also aims to deposit $170 million into the state’s business attraction fund, $75 million for health care worker recruitment, $67 million for the nursing home workforce, and $60 million for community and neighborhood initiatives. Another $25 million would fund water affordability and $10 million would fund a community violence initiative if Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs the bill into law.

The state had asked for $750 million more for factory site preparation, including $330 million to the Michigan Department of Transportation for road improvements; $224 million for pad-ready site improvements; $100 million for water and wastewater improvements; and $75 million for land acquisition. Other projected spending includes $15 million for Norfolk Southern rail improvements; $5 million for building inspections; and $300,000 to fund fiber optics.

General Fund dollars accounted for $828 million of spending, with $499 million in federal money, about $5 million in private revenue, and another $5 million in state-restricted revenue.

State Rep. Ann Bollin, R-Brighton, voted against the Ford subsidy.

“This bloated spending plan is a great deal for Ford, and a terrible deal for Michigan taxpayers,” Bollin said in a statement. “The return on investment is horrible. For a price tag of $1.8 billion and growing, this project will create 2,500 jobs – most of which pay just $41,000 a year. More than $700,000 per job is quite simply not a wise investment.”

Before the vote, Republicans offered a series of failed amendments aiming to restrict how Ford can spend taxpayer funds and ban partnerships or agreements with China.

Rep. Jim Haadsma, D- Battle Creek, called the Ford project the best thing that’s happened in south central Michigan since the “corn flake.”

The House also enrolled a tax relief package, House Bill 4001, that will boost the earned income tax credit and reduce retirement taxes, but doesn’t include the $180 inflation relief checks touted by Whitmer.

The total $800 million in checks would have circumvented a 2015 Republican law that will drop the personal income tax rate from 4.25% to 4.05%, triggered by increased state revenues.

State Rep. Mike Harris, R-Waterford, welcomed the coming tax break for all Michiganders.

“Increased costs have strained the finances of Michigan families and family businesses,” Harris said in a statement. “The Democrats’ attempt to block the income tax cut — hiding it in a bill to help retirees and workers — fell short. Now, tax relief will go not only to working families and retired seniors, but to all Michiganders, as well as our local small businesses.”

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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Ford Michigan Assembly Plant” by Dwight Burdette. CC BY 3.0.




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