Skubick: Filling Budget Hole Causes Legislative Rifts

(WLNS) – A conservative lawmaker wants to eliminate the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, claiming it is wasting tax dollars. But the MEDC has defenders in the Michigan legislature as we learn from 6 News Capitol correspondent Tim Skubick.

With a $550 million hole in the state budget, there is a bi-partisan effort to make some budget cuts at the Michigan Economic Development Authority which is charged with bring more jobs to Michigan.

But cutting the MEDC budget does not go far enough according to Republican State Rep. Todd Courser, who wants to eliminate it all together. “Crony capitalism is the MEDC. it creates no jobs.”
State Sen. Mike Kowall has his opinion. “If you want to unilaterally disarm that’s a perfect way to do it.”

Senator Kowall believes Michigan needs to compete with other states for jobs and granting tax incentives is one way to do it.

But Mr. Courser counters, the taxpayers should not be footing the bill. “The citizens giving special breaks to certain corporations and most have a lot of political clout and they get special treatment and we are seeing that right now.”

The governor was asked if he wanted to cut the MEDC budget, but he would not say that.

Reporter: “Are you willing to cut the MEDC?”
Gov. Snyder: “When I look at the budget at every area its not about a title of a department. It’s about what they are prepared to deliver the best results.”
Reporter: “Do you want to hold him MEDC harmless?”
Gov. Snyder: “I’m not holding anyone harmless. I’m look at every program.”

The domestic auto industry has benefited from tax breaks and a Lansing senator contends, to take those away. Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr says, “It’s sending the message that Michigan is no longer in the business of economic development.”

Mr. Courser does not want the state picking winners and losers on the job front.

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