Corporate handouts are bad for business.
But don’t take my word for it. Just look at the numbers. Just two years ago, state lawmakers and then-Governor Rick Snyder enacted the so-called “Good Jobs for Michigan” program to hand out millions in tax dollars to companies that promise to create hundreds or thousands of jobs.
Two years later, the program has awarded $57.4 million to just 3 participating companies, all to the tune of a staggering $42,000 per promised job.
If you think that’s bad, think back to former Governor Jennifer Granholm’s disastrous Michigan Economic Growth Authority, or MEGA, which has taxpayers on the hook for an additional $6 billion through the year 2030.
That’s because corporate welfare just doesn’t work. Companies promise the moon, politicians drool and jockey for positions at glitzy press conferences, the state raids taxpayers’ pockets and big business laughs all the way to the bank.
Whether or not they ever actually create the jobs is another question entirely. Policymakers should never forget the lessons learned through recent pursuits of Amazon and Foxconn.
Now some in Lansing are talking about extending the failed and expensive corporate giveaways and renewing the Good Jobs for Michigan welfare scheme. There’s a good chance they’ll succeed, too, given Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s voting history and expressed support for frequent corporate giveaways.
Instead of paying businesses to maybe invest in Michigan, they should explore opportunities to cut regulations, put taxpayers first, and empower workers to fill the 545,000 skilled trades jobs expected to be created by 2026.
Michigan Freedom Fund
Gizmodo: Foxconn Plant to Open in 2020 With Fewer Jobs Than Promised
"Foxconn originally said it would build a 20-million-square-foot campus with a Gen 10.5 facility for building TV screens, and would employee 13,000 people. To try to make this pipe dream come true, then-Governor Scott Walker, a Republican, promised $4 billion in incentives. At the groundbreaking in June 2018, President Donald Trump called the plant 'the Eighth Wonder of the World.' Since then, the scope of the project has diminished significantly."
Detroit News: Finley: State Must End ‘Gotcha’ Tax Seizures
Michigan Capitol Confidential: Not Much Difference Between Current Corporate Handouts and Recliner Subsidies"Government shouldn't profit from its citizens' mistakes, or their misery. But Michigan counties are making out very nicely by playing 'gotcha' with taxpayers who commit errors — oftentimes very tiny ones — on their property tax payments. State law allows counties to seize property for unpaid taxes, sell it at auction and keep all of the proceeds, even if the sale amount exceeds the owner's debt."
"Every session, legislators introduce bills to give certain businesses taxpayer money. Some of them pass. Regardless of which party gets tagged as the party of crony capitalism, it’s not a partisan issue. Business subsidies tend to be approved with strong bipartisan support. These corporate handouts are not that different from subsidized recliner purchases. It’s all public money going to someone’s direct private interests. Business subsidies get pocketed by business owners and serve the interests of that business owner, just as recliner subsidies would go to a person’s direct personal interests."
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