News Story

Fiat Chrysler And Ford To Get $131M From Michigan Taxpayers; Earned $26.4 Billion Last Three Years

That subsidy program expired in 2019, but GOP lawmaker trying to bring it back

Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles earned a combined $26.4 billion in profits in the three years from 2017 to 2019.

Yet in 2019, the state agency in charge of selective corporate incentive programs authorized giving the two auto giants a combined $131 million in taxpayer funds, under a program called Good Jobs For Michigan.

Those were among the largest subsidies granted under Good Jobs For Michigan, because the law creating it expired this past December. But a Republican lawmaker is working to resurrect the program.

State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, has introduced Senate Bill 492 to bring it back and extend it until 2024.

Independent research suggests the programs and spending make little or no difference. To cite one representative example, a working paper by Upjohn Institute scholars published in 2018 found evidence that companies receiving subsidies from the state of Michigan created no more jobs than did companies that didn’t receive taxpayer dollars.

Recently, at least one fast-growing mortgage company rejected a $2 million state subsidy offer for moving its company to Pontiac in 2018, according to the Detroit Free Press. The company, United Shore, spent $85 million to renovate a former GM facility.

In December, Horn called Good Jobs For Michigan a successful program after Ford announced plans to add 3,000 jobs. Earlier in the year, Fiat Chrysler said it would create 6,433 jobs.

The MEDC called the program a success.

“The Good Jobs for Michigan attraction tool has been an instrumental tool in aiding six large-scale projects either relocating to, or expanding here in Michigan that represent a total of more than $6,577,819,000 dollars of private investment and almost 11,300 jobs,” said Michigan Economic Development Corporation spokesman Otie McKinley in an email.

The 11,300 figure represents the number of jobs projected when the projects were announced, McKinley said.