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Gov. Whitmer signs billion-dollar spending deal to bring in more investment

Paul Sableman

Michigan’s governor signed a bill today [TUES] putting hundreds of millions of dollars toward a state fund meant to bring in large scale investment.

The new law sets aside hundreds of millions of dollars for possible business incentives and preparing sites for new projects.

The “Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve” has helped the state bring in new jobs and avoided losing out to other states, supporters said.

Other states have been ahead of the curve when it comes to fighting for new development, said Brad Williams with the Detroit Regional Chamber.

"Michigan’s really been behind the eight ball and so the creation of the SOAR program last year and now the Legislature stepping up and re-seeding the fund is putting Michigan at a strategic advantage going forward," Williams said.

But that approach doesn’t work, said James Hohman with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

"You don’t need to offer special favors to select companies to land jobs. And, in fact, the argument that the state needs to have its own economically destructive programs in order to compete with other states’ economically destructive programs is problematic," Hohman said. "I mean, I think our mothers might mention something about bridges."

Hohman said infrastructure, tax breaks, and other spending would be better investments.