Sunday, July 26, 2009

Will Nancy Cassis Hold Up Job Creation For Michigan?

Ruh roh. Today, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Governor Granholm announced the latest round of MEGA tax credits, creating and/or retaining nearly 15,000 expected jobs for our state. The Magna Seating announcement out of Detroit was a MEGA project; basically, you promise to bring the jobs and the money, we give you a credit towards the MBT. In the intense competition to land investment and jobs, most, if not all states in the union have economic development plans such as this.

The job numbers are always best estimates. Maybe a business will do better than expected and add more, maybe they won't and it will be less, sometimes the project announced doesn't even get off the ground. Hey, stuff happens, especially in a national recession.

This year, we have hit the wall on the number of credits we can issue.

Michigan Economic Development Corp. officials said the state could lose 15 or more projects to other states and countries if lawmakers don't vote quickly to ease the annual limit on tax credits.

"We're fighting an economic war with other states and we're out of ammo," said Mark Morante, vice president of policy and legislative affairs for the MEDC.
The House has moved to rectify this situation...

A bill raising the tax credit years -- the credits typically are approved for seven to 10 years -- that can be approved in 2009 from 400 to 500 and boosting the number of yearly deals for high-tech projects from 50 to 75 passed the House last month and is in the Senate Finance Committee.
... but once again, Nancy Cassis has "issues".

Sen. Nancy Cassis, R-Novi, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said she's not inclined to rob the state of an economic development tool, but she'll insist on more transparency before the bill raising the cap is passed out of her committee.

"There has to be more sunlight on the program," Cassis said. She said she hasn't been able to get details on the number of direct jobs created by companies receiving the tax breaks in past years.
And she is choosing now to take a stand about this? Alrighty then, I guess we just won't be able to approach any more companies about coming to Michigan to create jobs until Nancy's curiosity is satisfied. What was she planning on doing with the information anyway? Was the Queen of the Tax Cuts going to take away incentives from business? Seriously?

Oh, and by the way, shame on the Granholm administration and MEDC for not holding back some of these credits for later. What are you people trying to do anyway, end the recession or something?

Cassis also chided the administration for knowingly violating the limit.

"They knew they were up against the cap, but they kept spending and spending," she said.
Yeah they did. All those jobs, all that money, it was just too much. So, just tell all those other companies that are interested in Michigan to go away now. Just check with another state - Cassis doesn't want the business until she can pretend like she has some control here.

You unemployed folks are just going to have to wait.