Jan 7, 2002
The state of Michigan, like many states, is crying broke. Spending is being cut for nursing homes, public health care for poor children, mental health services, senior citizen centers, and burials for the destitute. State workers are receiving only small raises, putting them further behind inflation, and those who leave or retire aren’t being replaced.
There is no choice but to cut the budget – there is no money. It’s all the fault of September 11th – or so they say.
Michigan’s budget shortfalls are not surprising. Long before September 11th, Michigan politicians decided they didn’t need so much income and handed out new corporate tax cuts.
During the past two years, the following corporations were given a total of 40 million dollars per year in NEW property tax cuts: GM, Ford, Visteon, K-Mart, Dow Chemical, Pfizer Pharmaceutical, Johnson Controls, Siemens, Gyricon (A Xerox spin-off), American Axle, and Comcast.
These tax cuts, for roughly 20 years into the future, will total 675 million dollars in lost income the state decided it didn’t need! That’s part of the reason there’s no money for what the population needs.
It’s also no surprise Michigan has budget problems when you examine the grants that are being handed out to corporations, even after September 11th.
In November of 2001, the state announced that General Motors and Visteon would receive eight million dollars from the Dept. of Transportation for improvements to roads adjacent to property they own. So the next time you hit a pothole, just think about those smooth roads going into GM’s Lake Orion Plant and Visteon’s new world headquarters!
In 2001, corporations were given 3.1 million dollars in “Development Job Training Grants” by the Department of Education. Money that in past years paid for troubled teens to get a high school diploma now goes to corporations to fund their own retraining and technical training costs through programs administered by Michigan colleges.
In 2001, many corporations received “Brownfield Grants.” This money was intended for cleaning up the damage caused by industrial pollution of water and land. Instead, the state has given grants to corporations to build brand new factories. Corporations are handed money for a new highly profitable factory under the guise of cleaning up pollution.
The state of Michigan certainly HAS money. But instead of spending it on services and roads for the population, they’ve been handing it over to corporations, with no slowdown in sight!
Two national surveys, one by Plant Sites and Parks Magazine and another by Site Selection Magazine, rated Michigan the #1 state for a climate favorable to big business.
In other words, Michigan’s new tax breaks and government grants have made Michigan THE place to be for corporations looking for government hand-outs.
This is what creates problems for working people – no matter how much they try to blame it on September 11th.