News Story

State Websites Give History a Rewrite

Readers of the state of Michigan's various Web sites would be hard pressed to find evidence of one of the more embarrassing incidents to have happened this year to the Granholm administration.

On March 16, Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced in a press-release a series of state tax credits awarded to businesses, including one to a now-infamous company named RASCO. The press release stated the "the new-to-Michigan leader in renewable energy, water and telecommunications sectors" was approved for a $9.1 million tax credit and would create 1,813 new jobs.

The state nixed the deal when it found that RASCO CEO Richard A. Short was a convicted embezzler. The Flint Journal reported that at the same time he was working on the state tax deal, authorities said he was scamming an 86-year-old neighbor with dementia out of thousands of dollars.

The official press release on the tax credits has now been revised and has no mention of RASCO.

Bridget Beckham, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., which oversees the tax credit program, said RASCO was removed to "avoid confusion." She said there is a link with MEDC CEO Greg Main's statement on RASCO. At the bottom of the Web site, under "Press Releases" are four links including one that reads: "Statement by Greg Main, MEDC President and CEO."

But there is another press release on the state of Michigan Web site that as of 3:30 p.m. Wednesday had also removed mention of RASCO, but kept the company's $18.5 million in investment and 1,800 plus jobs in the state's overall projections.

Michael LaFaive, director of the Mackinac Center's Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, said it's a troubling trend he's seen in the Granholm administration.

LaFaive pointed to Gov. Granholm's comments in her inaugural address during early January of 2003 when she invited people to "dance with us in government." LaFaive has noted that the statement was not included in the state's text copy of her address.

"The problem for scholars is that some may be led to believe that certain public documents are official and accurate records of an administration when in fact such information may be modified by the political class post-hoc to control future narratives," LaFaive said.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.