Michigan gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero was on WJR radio Thursday promoting the idea of a state bank to give select businesses loans to spur the economy. But in 2009, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation reported that it gave out $29.7 million in loans and that $9.7 million was "uncollectible."

The MEDC didn't expect almost 33 percent of its loans to be repaid last year.

The MEDC stated it will either write off these loans or take an ownership stake in the projects. That way if the project does make money, the MEDC can get its money back.

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For example, in 2009 the MEDC stated that it had $2.8 million in life science loans and in that year had written off $800,000 as uncollectable and had taken another $900,000 as investment in the businesses that took the loans.

"This shows when you start making political motivations in loaning out money, you tend not to collect as much as you loaned out. That is a bad deal for taxpayers," said James Hohman, a policy analyst at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. "This serves as a warning for the state bank. The state already has some experience making loans and it has not been positive."

Cullen Schwarz, campaign spokesman for Bernero, didn't return a phone message or e-mail seeking comment.

 

 

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Emmet County Commissioners are spending millions of dollars on lavish ambulance stations and an observatory to gaze at stars. The projects are being funded by a bond issue that bypassed voters.

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