LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jonathan Lindsey was joined by several Republican senators on Wednesday in sending a letter to Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) CEO Quentin Messer requesting information on the state spending on site preparation involving the now-halted Ford battery plant in Marshall.
“Many of my colleagues and I have been wary of these deals for national security reasons as well as the massive burden they place on Michigan taxpayers,” said Lindsey R-Allen. “The announcement by Ford that it is simply halting production on a project that included a deal with the state to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars and nearly $2 billion more in tax incentives, outlines perfectly some of the concerns I had when I voted no on this proposal earlier this year.
“These backroom deals provide no transparency and are nothing shy of wasteful corporate welfare that could have been used to support Michigan’s small businesses and taxpayers.”
Earlier this year, Ford announced its plan to invest $3.5 billion at an electric vehicle battery plant park in Marshall. As part of the deal, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer agreed to provide Ford nearly $2 billion in tax incentives that would go toward site development, property tax reductions and corporations.
The Michigan Strategic Fund on Tuesday voted to award an additional $65 million to the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance (MAEDA), even though Ford has publicly questioned its ability to competitively run the plant. The additional $65 million for MAEDA brings the total state funding given to the Marshall area economic development group to more than $480 million to date.
As the pause in construction raises the possibility that taxpayers may see zero return on their investment, it is critical at this point to determine exactly how much of their money has already been spent on this project.
The letter, which was signed onto by Sens. Jonathan Lindsey, R-Allen, Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, Kevin Daley, R-Lum, Roger Hauck, R-Mt. Pleasant, Michele Hoitenga, R-Manton, Mark Huizenga, R-Walker, Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway Township, Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, Lana Theis, R-Brighton, and Michael Webber, R-Rochester Hills, requests all documents and information from MEDC regarding how much taxpayer funding, if any, has been spent on site preparation related to the Marshall project thus far.
“There have been understandable concerns among both state residents and members of the Legislature,” Lindsey said. “As legislators, we have an obligation to taxpayers, and how much of their money has been used on this project is a question that should certainly be answered.”
Editor’s note: A copy of the letter can be found attached to this email.