Some of these agreements were extended as long as twenty years in the future, and it's unknown how high the costs might eventually rise. Thus, the MBT remains on the books, but not to collect revenue - it continues to exist to dole out taxpayer-funded corporate welfare. As the Detroit News reported, the cost of these credits for just this fiscal year alone is more than the state will spend on community colleges, local health agencies and the Department of Natural resources combined.
Michigan families sleep unaware of the silent noose around the neck of our state that may tighten and strangle us at any moment. First, I will share with you the dangerous threat at our doorstep that became much clearer to me at my first General Appropriations Committee Hearing and then I will disclose the legislation I am putting forward to address it.
The situation is much worse than I thought; billions upon billions of outstanding tax credits promised by the MBT and the MEDC threaten the very solvency of our state and put every Michigan family in jeopardy. The situation is drastic and it's hard to believe that it has been allowed to continue to such a dangerous level. Money and politics do not mix and time and time again a policy that is sold to the public for it's "good intentions" is quickly hijacked for political and financial gain; the worst part about it - it is all being financed by the unknowing Michigan taxpayers.
The MEDC and MBT tax credits were originally created to spur on job growth, but it produced a petri dish of opportunities for questionable business investments, corporate welfare, and crony capitalism for politically connected corporations to receive tax credits, paid for by the Michigan taxpayer. In fact, according to Michigan Capitol Confidential, an Auditor General report released in 2013, stated that at most only 19% of the jobs projected came to fruition. From failed battery plants and biofuels companies, the MEDC has left a wake of taxpayer funded disasters. Not only does the MEDC disrupt the free market and fair competition by picking winners and losers, but it is even worse than that, it's scope is so large that Michigan taxpayers are on the hook for billions upon billions of these credits for up to the next 20 years.
Though many believe that the much-maligned Michigan Business Tax was eliminated back in 2011, over two hundred well-connected corporations have been allowed to c... These tax credits have left Michigan taxpayers on the hook for at least $4 billion dollars in unfunded liabilities. This money would be enough to fund all the infrastructure projects for our crumbling roads!
This is absolutely unacceptable and ridiculously irresponsible fiscal governance on the backs of Michigan families. It's time for our legislature to shoulder the duties we have been voted in and are paid to carry out and rein in this out of control situation and provide thorough oversight to make sure each tax dollar is being spent responsibly.
Too often our legislature abdicates it's authority to an unelected board or department which isn't accountable to the voter. That is why I am requesting legislation to be drafted that will eliminate this remaining part of the MBT and put an end to the mess that has been created and will continue to impact Michigan for the next 20 years. I hope my colleagues in the House and those in the Senate will join me in putting an end to the dangerous path that Michigan is on and support our efforts to reroute our state to a more fiscally responsible path and a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.
Tweaking the MEDC and the MBT is not enough, bad policy is bad policy, and it is time for Michigan to get out of the business of corporate welfare and completely eliminate the MEDC and the MBT and any other forms of corporate welfare that leave Michigan taxpayers on the hook. That is why I have have also co-sponsored Representative Courser's bill to end future funding to the MEDC.
I believe in government transparency and as a legislator I have a responsibility to let my constituents and the people of Michigan know about this situation, however, I also have a responsibility to do my best to put forward solutions to dangerous policies wherever I am able. We must address and clean up this MEDC and MBT mess from past unfunded promises that are a millstone around the neck of our children and grandchildren.
May God bless our efforts!
With Firm Reliance on Divine Providence,