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Massive corporate welfare package in Michigan, supported by both Republicans and Democrats

October 4, 2022

Last week, the Michigan Legislature voted to approve $846.1 Million to “attract new business.” 

The Strategic Outreach and Attraction (SOAR) Fund passed in the Michigan Senate by a vote of 25 – 8 and in the House 76 – 28, thus demonstrating once again that when it comes to economic policies both the Republicans and Democrats embrace NeoLiberal Capitalism (Gov. Whitmer signed off on these funds on October 4th). To be more specific, in this case, the majority of the $846.1 Million will go to a number of corporations, which means that the State of Michigan voted to give massive subsidies/welfare to corporations.

Maybe the best story written about this vote, came from The Bridge Magazine. When I say the best, I mean that The Bridge did publish how the Michigan Legislature voted, along with some information about which corporations will benefit from the $846.1 Million of public money. 

The Bridge article cites a few politicians, but they primarily cite Business Associations, such as the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Citizen Research Council of Michigan (which is essentially made up of corporate representation who are technically citizens), and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (also dominated by representatives of political and economic systems of power). 

There was one dissenting voice from the non-corporate world, Fund MI Future, which is a coalition of labor, environmental and social justice groups. The Fund MI Future spokesperson was quoted as saying, “Lawmakers continue to send hundreds of millions of dollars to wealthy corporations without ensuring layoffs aren’t right around the corner.” 

This comment from Fund MI Future, while important in a reformist way, essentially condones and embraces this form of State Capitalism, which essentially turns public money over to the corporate world. The problem with this position, is that it doesn’t address a more fundamental dynamic of why the public should be providing massive subsidies to corporations in the first place. In addition, it ignores the fact that the public had no say in how their money is being spent. However, the previous quote from the Fund MI Future coalition is not that surprising, considering that it is really made up of mainstream NGOs, who rarely, if ever, question the function of Capitalism in Michigan.

Lastly, it is worth mentioning that the bi-partisan support from the $846.1 Million package – mostly corporate welfare – was supported by Democrats from West Michigan, including Senator Winnie Brinks and Representatives David LaGrand and Rachel Hood. 

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