Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Harris: Paying people to move won’t grow Michigan’s population
RELEASE|December 11, 2023
Contact: Mike Harris

State Rep. Mike Harris today said that paying people to move to Michigan would be ineffective at attracting new residents and growing the state’s population.

The governor’s Growing Michigan Together Council, tasked with recommending solutions to Michigan’s population decline, is considering proposals for rewarding new residents with grants, tax credits, or other direct incentives. Harris said the proposals would be a waste of resources.

“Paying people to move to Michigan would be like slapping a Band-Aid on our state’s population decline,” said Harris, R-Waterford. “Families won’t suddenly change their minds and come to our state for a small reward. Unfortunately, the governor’s population council seems poised to recommend this and other extravagant new programs — paired with expensive new taxes that will make Michigan a more expensive place to live.

“Instead, we should be focused on cost-effective tactics to address people’s underlying concerns that have led to our lagging population. We should rebuild roads and bridges, bolster public safety, and boost education, and we must achieve these goals by strengthening standards, reinvesting our resources, and rejecting burdensome tax hikes on Michiganders.”

Other states and communities have offered various moving incentives with little success, according to an analysis by Bridge Michigan. While many of these unsuccessful government programs are funded by private contributions, Michigan’s population council has not indicated how it recommends paying for such an effort. The incentive proposal is just one of many costly programs under consideration by Michigan’s population council — programs Harris said will undoubtedly come with calls for state and local tax increases.

Harris noted that the latest state budget, which he opposed, underinvested in infrastructure, public safety, and education, instead wasting the state’s $9 billion surplus and prioritizing unsustainable new programs and pet projects.

Michigan ranks 49th in the nation for population growth since 1990, and the state’s population has decreased since 2020.

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