Bipartisan group of representatives would mandate substance abuse testing for 'corporate welfare' recipients
If the likes of Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally and Hollywood Film Producer James Cameron want tax breaks for their projects in Michigan, they may have to take a drug test to get the money if a bipartisan group of State Representatives have their way.
Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, introduced House Bill 5527 on Wednesday that calls for top executives in companies to be drug tested if they receive certain tax breaks from the state. The bill currently has four co-sponsors: Pat Somerville, R-New Boston, Judson Gilbert, R-Algonac, Mike Shirkey, R-Clark Lake, and Jim Ananich, D-Flint.
Rep. McMillin is against testing welfare recipients for drugs, but said if that plan goes through, then executives getting “corporate welfare” also should be drug tested.
The bill is tied to the Michigan Strategic Fund, which oversees the state’s film subsidies as well as the tax credits given to some of the state’s biggest corporations.
The bill says that any company that gets a loan, grant or tax credit from the Michigan Strategic Fund would have its president, CEO and anyone who reports directly to the president or CEO drug tested.
“I don’t know if it will go anywhere,” Rep. McMillin said. “I honestly believe this will be in the mix if we go in the direction of testing Medicaid recipients."
Rep. McMillin said he’s not in favor of the state drug testing anyone who receives welfare.
“I think it is an intrusion by the government,” Rep. McMillin said. “But if we are going to do one (Medicaid), we should do the other (corporate). It’s handouts from the government. I think we ought to treat everyone the same if we start handing out money.”
When told his bill would include Hollywood executives who want film tax credits, Rep. McMillin said it was possible top filmmakers could be included depending on what titles they held with their companies. Michigan currently provides a film subsidy of up to 32 percent of a production’s payroll expenses.
“It potentially could be James Cameron,” Rep. McMillin said. “I would say, potentially, yes, if they want our money.”