A Bipartisanship Win in Lansing – For Corporate Subsidies

Republicans and Democrats in Lansing certainly have their differences. But there are some areas where they’ve found common ground: like agreeing to throw public money at some of the biggest corporations on the planet.

Last December, a broad bipartisan coalition of Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature came together to create the “Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve” (SOAR), which Governor Whitmer’s office described as “a package to support small businesses and fully fund a historic economic development toolkit.”

That statement needs a little translation. “Toolkit” refers not to a box of hardware but to a billion-dollar subsidy fund that will give direct grants to businesses. And which “small businesses” are those?

Well, one is a mom-and-pop outfit out of Detroit called General Motors. (You may have passed their little storefront down by Hart Plaza.) GM, which projects $14 billion in earnings in fiscal year 2021, has now been awarded the appropriately Faustian sum of $666 million in SOAR money to expand a plant in Delta Township, outside Lansing.

Korean manufacturer LG Chem (2020 profits: $900 M) is also seeking SOAR subsidies for an expansion of its battery plant in Holland, MI, which supplies batteries to GM. The plant received some unwanted attention last year when some of its batteries in Chevy Bolts started to catch fire. (Workers at the facility report that the pay is not bad, but not everyone’s thrilled about the 12-hour days.)

Read on to find out how your legislator voted on the SOAR program.

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