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to pay out $1.03 billion this fiscal year to companies awarded refundable business tax credits under programs that were repealed in 2011.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.
Permission to reprint this blog post in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author (or authors) and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy are properly cited. Permission to reprint any comments below is granted only for those comments written by Mackinac Center policy staff.
Get insightful commentary and the most reliable research on Michigan issues sent straight to your inbox.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit research and educational institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government. Through our research and education programs, we challenge government overreach and advocate for a free-market approach to public policy that frees people to realize their potential and dreams.
Please consider contributing to our work to advance a freer and more prosperous state.
Donate | About | Blog | Pressroom | Publications | Careers | Site Map | Email Signup | Contact