Letter: Workforce incentives are working for Michigan
I think it’s important to provide some sunshine to a recent piece from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (“Let the sun set on this corporate subsidy program,” Aug. 6). Like clockwork, the Mackinac Center suggests that inside every silver lining rests a dark cloud.
The Good Jobs for Michigan program provides incentives to new and existing businesses when they add 250, 500 or thousands of great jobs right here in Michigan. Just recently, Fiat Chrysler committed a $4.5 billion investment plan that adds about 6,500 jobs in Detroit and the surrounding suburbs. It is the first new auto plant in Michigan in 15 years.
Any company seeking to make investments in Michigan is eligible for this incentive if they add at least 250 new jobs that pay at least 125% of the average regional wage.
The investing company puts income taxes collected from the gross payroll of these new jobs into a restricted fund within the Michigan Department of Treasury, and dollars are returned to the job provider as they fully meet the conditions of the incentive.
At no time are Michigan taxpayers on the hook for any kind of “giveaway” through our general tax collections, corporate or personal.
The policy center repeats the story of Foxconn as if Michigan landed that deal. Foxconn is now a Wisconsin company, precisely because GJFM was not a giveaway program.
The Mackinac Center tries to make the point that no government entity should ever use incentives. It would have Michigan unilaterally disarm itself of tools to attract new jobs. We all use incentives in the real world, because incentives work.
For all of its ideological rhetoric, the Mackinac Center uses tax incentives to its own self-interest. It’s inherent in its business model, as the center uses the U.S. tax code to incorporate in such a fashion that it pays no corporate income tax.
Without these tax tools and the incentives they can offer, entities like the Mackinac Center could not exist. I only point this out to say that incentives do indeed work and are a part of our everyday lives. None of us should shake a self-righteous finger at real corporations for following the law, especially as they’re adding hundreds and thousands of Michigan jobs.
I will re-introduce the Good Jobs for Michigan initiative as its two-and-a-half-year demonstration period comes to an end. It is a well-thought-out economic development tool, and it has a proven demonstrable value.
It poses no risk to Michigan taxpayers, while helping us diversify our economy.
State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth