Shaking Up Corporate Welfare

It’s seem like it’s every other day a corporation shows up in Lansing with its hand out asking for tax dollars to conduct business. From FoxConn to Dan Gilbert to Amazon, there is no shortage of wealthy folks asking hard working Michiganders to give them money.

The Michigan Strategic Fund is the entity that decides which projects get money and which ones will be left to the whims of the market. Despite the fact that the Michigan Strategic Fund hands out millions of dollars every year and holds press events with ribbon cutting and promises of jobs, there is nothing in law requiring the Fund to ensure Michigan workers get the benefits of investments.

Representative Abdullah Hammoud (D – Dearborn) has introduced a bill that would ensure taxpayer-supported companies will have to pay at least $15 per hour. House Bill 6276 is a simple one-page bill that promotes economic opportunity for working people when companies get help from the public.

For nearly a decade, the complete control of Michigan government by Republicans has led to policies that put corporations ahead of people. Hammoud’s bill would begin to reverse a decade of profits-before-people legislation.

Under Rick Snyder, Michigan offered $800 million to FoxConn, awarded over $600 million to Dan Gilbert to build some skyscrapers and begged Amazon to locate in Michigan with over $4 billion in incentives. It’s time Michigan called the shots rather than allowing corporations to run roughshod over workers, make empty promises, or waste public resources. Michigan shouldn’t be in the business of giving away public resources to for-profit interests because there are too many needed investments in education, roads, water infrastructure, and other public services, but this piece of legislation at least begins the conversation of how to ensure our public dollars are working for the people, not just private profits.

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