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Diverting more public money to businesses: The Good Jobs for Michigan Legislation

April 3, 2017

It is important for people who want to develop a class consciousness to read the business press. While reading the business press might be aggravating, it is important to know what the business community is thinking and how they are influencing public policy.

In a recent “sponsored content” article in MiBiz, the President and CEO of The Right Place Inc, Birgit Klohs, wrote about current proposed legislation in Michigan that would essentially divert more taxpayer money to support business interests. 

The legislation that The Right Place Inc CEO was referring to her in article is Senate bills 242243 and 244. One of the sponsors of the bill, State Senator Jim Stamas, explains the legislation this way:

Under the bills, business expansions or new locations creating at least 500 qualified new jobs that pay the prosperity region average wage or higher would be eligible to receive up to a five-year, 50 percent abatement on the personal income tax withholdings of the new employees. Companies creating at least 250 qualified new jobs paying wages at 125 percent or more of the prosperity region average wage would be eligible to receive up to a 10-year, 100 percent abatement.

This legislation passed in the Michigan Senate last week and is often referred to as the Good Jobs for Michigan bill. Not so surprising, there is a statewide coalition of businesses and business entities called the Good Jobs for Michigan group. 

What is important for the public to understand is that legislation generally isn’t the brainchild of individual legislators, rather legislation is often crafted by those who are part of the capitalist class. And the reason that the capitalist class is in the business of creating policy is because they are always thinking about how they can divert more public money to private interests……..their private interests.

The Good Jobs for Michigan is a slick campaign that essentially is designed to divert public money into the private sector because the private sector claims this is necessary in order for businesses to create jobs. Therefore, businesses and business associations are saying to the government is, “Give us some money so we can create jobs, so we can make a whole bunch of money.”

The Good Jobs for Michigan group is made up of business and trade associations from across the state, including the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and The Right Place Inc. Therefore, the “sponsored” article from Birgit Klohs in MiBiz was nothing more than a pitch to the larger business community to get them to lobby legislators to vote for these bills.

The article from The Right Place Inc CEO appeared on March 19. The Michigan Senate voted on Friday, March 31st to adopt all three bills. This was a bi-partisan supported set of bills, with only 5 Republican Senators voting against the legislation. Even the pro-market Mackinac Center for Public Policy didn’t mince words about what this legislation would do. The pro-market think tank referred to Senate bill 242 as, Transfer state revenue to certain business owners.

The public can ill afford to allow those in the capitalist class to continue to dictate policy that negatively impacts working class people. Just because the word jobs is used in these kinds of campaigns, doesn’t mean it is in the interest of the public.

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