Advance Notice: Briefs

Whitmer signs bipartisan supplemental plan funding business tax incentives

By: - October 4, 2022 2:09 pm

Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday signed Senate Bill 844, a bipartisan investment measure aimed at attracting and retaining business opportunities in Michigan.

The supplemental that passed last week includes $846.1 million total for SOAR (Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund), one of the state’s economic development funds. That includes $640 million being added with $200 million being reauthorized that is currently in SOAR.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at the Mackinac Policy Conference, June 1, 2022 | Laina G. Stebbins

“Today, I am proud to sign another bipartisan bill that will build on Michigan’s growing economic momentum, attract billions in investment, and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs,” Whitmer said.

“The bipartisan legislation will help us grow, attract, and retain businesses in Michigan, ensuring we can lead the future of mobility and electrification and bring supply chains of chips and batteries home to Michigan. Our work on economic development is a testament to what we are capable of when we work together. Let’s keep putting Michiganders first and moving our state forward.”  

State Sens. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing) and Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth) and state Reps. Matt Hall (R-Battle Creek) and Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids) praised the measure in the joint statement, with Hall calling the creation of SOAR “one of the country’s biggest economic success stories.”

“These supplemental budgets invest part of our $7 billion surplus to support economic growth, create good jobs, help struggling students afford to go to college and support the mental health of invaluable first responders,” Stamas said. “Economic development is critical to our future. As our economy faces the challenges of high inflation, labor shortages and supply-chain issues, we must help our state remain competitive for long-term, high-wage jobs.”

Though bipartisan, the supplemental did come with a spot of controversy and a subsequent shift of financial leadership in the Legislature. Opposing the spending was state Rep. Thomas Albert (R-Lowell), who resigned as House Appropriations chair as the package was being created. House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Clare) then appointed state Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.) to the powerful post for the rest of the term.

Michigan currently has an unprecedented budget surplus of $7 billion.

The supplemental includes:

  •  $496 million for future economic investments
  • $25 million for grants to regional and local economic development organizations
  • $350 million for site development statewide
  • Infrastructure funding and grants for various projects, including those in Adrian, Pontiac and Thomas Township
  • $20 million to settle a lawsuit brought by those wrongly found to have committed fraud by the Michigan UIA (Unemployment Insurance Agency) between 2013 and 2015
  • $27 million for upgrades to secure an investment from Hemlock Semiconductor

Since Whitmer signed legislation establishing the SOAR fund in December, the state has attracted three projects in Michigan related to mobility, electrification and semiconductor chips.

Whitmer on Tuesday also signed HB 5662 and HB 5663 to implement uniform standards for commercial drivers in Michigan.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins is a former Michigan Advance reporter. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service.