Which candidate for governor supports handing over taxpayer money to business owners and managers? In an advertisement against Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon, the Democratic Governors Association alleges that she wants “tax giveaways for billionaires.”
While Dixon doesn’t have a record to check against, she does have campaign materials. She’s called to “develop and enact a plan to phase out Michigan’s personal income tax over time.” If she were successful, this would lower billionaire income taxes along with everyone else’s. That is not exactly a giveaway.
Michigan lawmakers have plenty of experience with giving away taxpayer money to select companies. They’ve authorized $18.4 billion in business subsidies since 2001. Those are subsidies, where the recipients collect cash from the state, not cases where companies pay less in taxes.
The Democratic candidate, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, has a record on corporate handouts, most or all of which end up going to the wealthy. She voted for $4.5 billion in business subsidies and against just $87.5 million during her time in the legislature. In other words, she voted in favor of 98.1% of the handouts enacted during her term. That is more than all but 13 of the 584 legislators who served since 2001 and are included in the business subsidy scorecard.
Her support includes voting for Gov. Granholm’s $1 billion 21st Century Jobs Fund that was supposed to blow us away. Instead, it lost that money while the economy continued to lose jobs during the 2000s.
As governor, Whitmer continued to favor tax giveaways. She has signed bills that authorize a further $2.0 billion in business subsidies. That’s roughly how much it costs to operate the state’s Department of Corrections for a year.
Tax cuts, which let people keep more of the money they earn, are very different from the business subsidies included in these figures. These subsidies require the state to tax people in order to hand that money over to the companies selected by state lawmakers.
If voters care about which candidate supports more tax giveaways, Whitmer has a clear record.
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.
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.