Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Bollin: Low standards for economic development spending hurt Michigan taxpayers
RELEASE|March 27, 2024
Contact: Ann Bollin

State Rep. Ann Bollin once again called for more accountability surrounding state tax dollars handed out to large corporations after an audit report released today showed insufficient oversight within the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

The report released by the non-partisan Office of the Auditor General (AOG) showed the MEDC released a $10 million grant payment before the grantee met all eligibility requirements.

“If the state is going to give our hard-earned tax dollars to big corporations in the name of economic development, there should be strong safeguards in place to protect those investments,” Bollin said. “This audit uncovered a betrayal of the public’s trust and a disturbing lack of accountability from the MEDC. It’s unacceptable.”

 Last fall, Bollin introduced a plan to provide added accountability to projects awarded economic development funding through the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund – which the governor used to award $1.8 billion in state incentives to Ford for its BlueOval battery plant in the Marshall area. Ford briefly paused the project before deciding to move forward with a smaller, scaled down facility. If no adjustments are made, the project would cost Michigan taxpayers about $1.3 million per job.

House Bill 5137, a $725.3 million negative supplemental appropriations plan, shifts money previously appropriated to the SOAR fund back into the state’s general fund. It does the same with funding appropriated to the Michigan Department of Transportation for road improvements surrounding the Marshall site.

House Bill 5138 would ensure economic development funding awarded through SOAR is automatically returned to the general fund when a project is canceled or put on indefinite hold. House Bill 5136 would require an annual audit of the SOAR fund.

“When the state invests taxpayer dollars on economic development, transparency and accountability are non-negotiable,” Bollin said. “I’m working to make sure those safeguards are in place and that every project demonstrates a clear and substantial return on investment for the taxpayers footing the bill. Anything less is simply unacceptable.”


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