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Skubick: Tax incentives for big business catching flak from conservative groups

Local News

Big business looking for state tax credits may be on a collision course with some conservative groups that oppose what they term “corporate cronyism.”  

When the Chinese high-tech firm FoxConn announced it was expanding in the United States, it triggered a feeding frenzy among many state legislatures, each hoping to land thousands of new jobs.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and his pals in the Republican House and Senate quickly cobbled together a tax incentive package designed to lure FoxConn here.

“It’s corporate cronyism,” claims Tony Daunt of the Michigan Freedom Fund. “We think it’s a bad idea and continues to be a bad idea.”

The legislature passed the package and crossed its fingers only to see the company go across the lake to Wisconsin.

What happened next proves this was a bad deal from start to finish according to the Michigan Freedom Fund, underwritten with DeVos family money.

Daunt says, “this was the huge package with bells and whistles trying to get FoxConn and everyone forgets we did this for FoxConn, but it said, no thanks we’re going to Wisconsin and the company hosed Wisconsin and left them holding the bag, so it just goes to show that this is such a bad idea.”

So what does the business community think about taking a tool away from the state to lure more jobs here?  Every governor, including Jim Blanchard, John Engler, Jennifer Granholm and Rick Snyder, did it.

Michigan Manufacturers Association lobbyist Mike Johnson argues, in general, the state needs tax incentive programs if the good jobs program goes away.

Mr. Daunt is telling lawmakers, you don’t have to vote to kill this, it will expire on its own.

“All we’re asking is the legislature to do nothing and that’s one of the things sometimes they’re best at,” says Daunt.

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