According to the latest revenue estimates, Michigan state government expects to pay out $1.03 billion this fiscal year to companies awarded refundable business tax credits under programs that were repealed in 2011. Even for Lansing, this is a huge transfer of taxpayer resources to favored interests.
Compare the amount to the $1.1 billion the state expects to collect this year in corporate income tax revenue. Nearly all the business tax money collected this year from thousands of companies both large and small will be doled out to a handful of mostly large firms who were fortunate enough to swing special deals with the Granholm administration.
Worse, state economic development officials keep secret the names of the companies collecting these payments. They claim releasing the names would violate the beneficiaries’ taxpayer confidentiality, but this relies on a thin and tendentious reading of the law (and one the Legislature could reverse).
Meanwhile, agency officials continue to ignore legal reporting requirements that require the names and amounts to be disclosed. Apparently, government secrecy, shrugging off statutory rules and continued special treatments for special interests is standard procedure for state economic development programs, and not a problem to the lawmakers who fund them.
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