News Story

Thirty-One MEDC Salaries Top $100K

At a time when the Michigan Economic Development Corporation is saying it is being unfairly criticized, its staffers are among the best paid in the state.

According to information from a Freedom of Information Act request, the MEDC has 31 employees making $100,000 or more. The MEDC has 351 positions.

Greg Main, president and CEO of the MEDC, had the top salary, at $200,000. Debra Dansby, the chief operating officer, had the second-highest salary, at $150,000.

"The MEDC was structured to incorporate the best and brightest from the private sector and the state's most experienced civil servants in order to better serve the business community with employees paid from either state and non-state funds," wrote MEDC Spokeswoman Bridget Beckman in an e-mail. "With respect to state employees, MEDC is one of the "oldest" agencies for average years of service compared to others. ... it's a matter of perspective. Ours is that we present a unique advantage to Michigan's business community and our structure has become a model for other economic development agencies."

It hasn't been a banner year for the MEDC. A convicted embezzler was approved for a tax credit and had it revoked once the office learned of his background. RASCO CEO Richard Short was on parole after being convicted and serving two years in prison for financial fraud when his tax credit was approved by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority. Short's company never received any money from the state.

Main offered to resign after the RASCO incident, but Gov. Jennifer Granholm would not accept his resignation.

Then in April, State Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, met with the state Auditor General after a critical audit of the MEDC. McMillin said MEGA may have doled out an estimated $150 million in tax credits erroneously in the last five years due to lack of oversight.

The MEDC sent out a letter stating it was "deeply concerned" about "unwarranted criticism."

The state's flagship economic development program was started in 1999, when the state's unemployment rate was 4.0 percent. Over the years, the state's unemployment rate has steadily climbed, reaching 12.8 percent in May of this year.

"The MEDC has presided over the worst collapse of Michigan's economic fortunes in its history," said Michael LaFaive, director of the Mackinac Center's Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative. "It should be embarrassed for that alone. At the end of the day, it is just another expensive organ of state government."


See also:

Lawmaker Says Special Tax Favors Are 'Cronyism' 

MichCapCon Profile: The 3rd Congressional District Primary 

Bouchard 'Would Not Hesitate' to End State's Economic Central Planning Agency

Embattled Agency in Charge of Special Tax Favors Snaps at Critics

Critics Shoot at Special Tax Deal for Super Speedway

State Taxpayers Eat $350K Loan for East Lansing Property Purchase

Google Jobs Lacking, Yet Some Locals Still Consider It a 'Badge of Honor' for Ann Arbor

No Audits for Ten Years on Companies Getting Special Tax Breaks from State

Lawmaker Says $150 Million in Unearned Tax Credits Given Out by State

State Websites Give History a Rewrite


Michigan #1 for Economic Development?


MEDC needs accountability, transparency - Livingston Daily Editorial

MEDC outdoes fiasco - Traverse City Record-Eagle

Ann video: Gov. Granholm defends MEDC tax credits

MEDC: 'Stop Pointing Out Our Failures'

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.