Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Martin: Overhaul to state’s economic incentive program warrants scrutiny
RELEASE|October 24, 2023
Contact: David Martin

State Rep. David Martin today expressed frustration after the House Economic Development and Small Business Committee cut off legislators who sought to ask questions about legislation that makes substantial changes to a statewide economic development incentive program.

Martin, R-Davison, said House Bills 5104-07 make extensive changes to the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) Fund, including changing the name of the program and adding new requirements that require job providers to agree to advance the governor’s “economic justice” and climate goals.

“It’s deeply disappointing that we weren’t allowed to ask questions about such a substantive change,” Martin said. “The people I serve expect me to thoroughly vet reforms like these to make sure they align with the best interests of our state, and that’s impossible to do if I’m not allowed to seek basic information.

“For example, what do federal climate goals have to do with creating and retaining jobs in Michigan? Are we really going to turn away thousands of great-paying jobs because a large manufacturer is actively addressing potential environmental concerns at another site? Or because a company isn’t planning to invest in green energy infrastructure? It makes absolutely no sense to require a business making a large investment in the Upper Peninsula to install EV chargers just so they can check the ‘green energy’ box and qualify for economic development funding.”

The bills make multiple references to executive orders at the state and federal level, and Martin noted that executive orders can, and often do, change on the whim of a president or governor.

“In total, these bills create more than 60 new hurdles that businesses will have to jump through. Multiple manufacturers, including General Motors, have stated that this new red tape will make it nearly impossible for them to qualify for economic development funding in Michigan. This legislation clearly warrants more public scrutiny. I hope the bill sponsor will give people the courtesy of answering these questions in an open and transparent manner.”


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