(The Center Square) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a $1.3 billion spending bill that gives $630 million to prepare Ford’s Marshall site for the BlueOval factory.
The subsidy is piled onto $1 billion of taxpayer subsidies to create 2,500 jobs that pay an annual average of $45,136. Each job created will cost taxpayers about $680,000.
“I’m proud to sign this bipartisan legislation to grow our economy, protect public health, and lower costs for families,” Whitmer said in a statement. “We are coming together to recruit and retain health care workers, invest in regional economic development and infrastructure to secure thousands of good-paying American manufacturing jobs, and lower utility costs for families.”
House Bill 4016 provides $330 million to Ford’s site development, $299 million to the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, and $170 million into the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund.
About $75 million will fund hospital staffing grants, $67 million for nursing home workforce grants, a $63.5 million increase in nursing home reimbursement rates, and $60 million for grants to community centers. This funding will support local governments, nonprofits, and faith-based institutions with grants of up to $2.5 million each. At least 50% of these grants are required to go to areas below the median income and areas or organizations that were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brett Kaschinske, director of Lansing Parks & Recreation, welcomed the funds.
“Lansing Parks & Recreation operates four aging community centers that provide incredible programming to residents across the city,” Kaschinske said in a statement. “During the pandemic these centers stayed open to provide shelter for those in need, study spaces for students, and so much more. Many of our facilities are old and need a lot of work. Grant funding like this will be welcome by communities across the state as we continue to meet the needs of people of all ages.”
The supplemental appropriates $150 million to build affordable housing and $212 million for home energy rebates for home appliances, heating and cooling systems, electric vehicle chargers, and solar installation and battery storage.
Sen. Roger Hauck, R-Mt. Pleasant, had voted against the bill because of the Ford subsidy.
“Over the next 20 years, the investment is expected to return less to the state in personal income and sales tax revenue than the state’s initial, up-front investment,” Hauck said in a statement.
Hauck said the bill was a bad deal for taxpayers.
“Not only does the math not add up, it is so grotesquely one sided that it’s inconceivable that anyone would support this egregious spending in the first place,” Hauck said.
Rep. Jim Haadsma, D-Battle Creek, welcomed the spending.
"This historic opportunity is an investment in people,” Haadsma said in a statement. “I’m so pleased Ford Motor Company chose Calhoun County and I’m confident this influx of good paying jobs will put people on notice that Michigan is on the right track.”
The legislation also includes $750,000 in grants to groups that provide outreach for suicide prevention services.
“We know veterans are 57% more likely to commit suicide than those who haven’t served, and we are doing everything we can to support our former service members and their families,” Adam Hollier, director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency said in a statement. “This investment in veteran suicide prevention in Michigan will provide MVAA the needed resources to begin innovative programs that keep more of our heroes from taking their own lives.”
The bill allocated $10.8 million to begin the Community Violence Intervention initiative.