Michigan House Republicans
House Republicans call for strategy to grow Michigan’s economy
RELEASE|April 17, 2024
Contact: Matt Hall

House Republican Leader Matt Hall and fellow House Republicans on Wednesday unveiled plans to help grow Michigan’s economy so Michiganders and job providers can succeed.

The announcement comes after Gov. Whitmer’s Growing Michigan Together Council in December determined that Michigan needs a “bold, coordinated economic growth plan,” and the governor hasn’t developed one in her five years in office. House Republicans laid out multiple crucial proposals that should form elements of the state’s growth plan, including reducing the income tax for Michiganders and small businesses, cutting red tape to make a fairer and more streamlined regulatory environment, and increasing accountability over taxpayer-funded economic development projects.

“Michigan needs to attract and retain talented people who are looking for fulfilling careers and an affordable community to call home,” said Hall, R-Richland Township. “As Gov. Whitmer’s population council noted, we need an economic growth strategy to help create opportunities and make our state a better place to live and work. The governor doesn’t have an economic growth plan, so House Republicans are taking the lead with important policy reforms that should form the basis of Michigan’s strategy. By reforming unaccountable taxpayer-funded programs to ensure better results, restoring the income tax cut, removing burdensome red tape, and bringing back right-to-work, we can create a healthy economy where people can put down their roots and thrive.”

Republicans announced the plans as the House of Representatives returns to session, with Democrats ignoring the need for a real, comprehensive growth plan and the need for reforming state-funded economic development projects. Instead, Senate Democrats passed legislation in March that focused on adding partisan social spending to economic development rather than reforming the programs to increase accountability to taxpayers and improve return on investment. A recent study by Bridge Michigan found that 40% of economic development deals create jobs paying below-median wages, and Ford’s planned factory in Marshall was approved for $1.8 billion in state incentives that amount to a more than $1 million cost per projected job.

“When it comes to economic growth, Gov. Whitmer is a one-trick pony, and all she has are expensive projects that overpromise and underdeliver,” Hall said. “Doling out billions of taxpayer dollars to a few electric vehicle battery plants won’t turn our whole economy around. We need a broader strategy to grow our economy, help businesses create jobs, and make life more affordable for Michiganders, and we need to hold economic development programs accountable and keep taxpayer dollars from going to waste.”

House Republicans said Michigan’s coordinated economic growth strategy should include plans they’re introducing to:

  • Respect tax dollars in economic development programs: Michigan taxpayers should have their dollars spent responsibly, so the state’s economic development programs need more accountability to ensure taxpayers are getting a worthwhile return on investment. Michigan should audit payouts, reclaim funds when deals don’t deliver on their promises, increase transparency about paused projects, and require votes by all the people’s representatives on large-scale projects funded through the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) Fund. The state should also prioritize funds for small- and medium-sized businesses and coordinate permitting between the state and local governments to expedite projects.
  • Cut red tape and make it easier to put people to work: Burdensome regulations and confusing bureaucracy impede workers and employers who are trying to succeed in Michigan. State government should streamline bureaucracy with a single, user-friendly portal where businesses and workers can deal with state agencies. The state should review and reevaluate regulations, paperwork, and licensing to determine what works and what only gets in the way of economic productivity and growth. Michigan should also restore policies that prevent bureaucrats from imposing stricter rules than the federal government or ignoring the input of experts and employers.
  • Measure performance of state workforce programs: Taxpayers shouldn’t fund programs that don’t work, so Michigan should measure the performance of workforce programs to see whether they are successfully helping people develop skills or obtain good-paying jobs.
  • Increase families’ paychecks: Thanks to Republicans, Michigan’s income tax rate decreased last year from 4.25% to 4.05%, and Michiganders and small businesses are receiving larger returns this spring as a result. However, legal maneuvering by the Whitmer administration and Attorney General Dana Nessel resulted in a tax hike. Michigan should restore the income tax cut so Michiganders can keep more of their hard-earned paychecks in the years ahead.
  • Restore right-to-work: For more than a decade, Michigan’s right-to-work law guaranteed workers the right to choose whether to pay dues to a union, and many businesses look for right-to-work states where they can move or expand. Michigan Democrats repealed that successful law last year, and the state should restore this crucial freedom so workers don’t have their paychecks cut to fund union bosses.
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