News Story

Michigan Democrats are the party of corporate welfare

For the Democrats who run Lansing, fixing the roads takes a back seat to picking winners and losers

Correction: An earlier version of this story misnamed the Ford Motor Company CEO in 2021.

The Democrats in charge of the Michigan Legislature voted last week to give $1.3 billion in public funds to a large corporation rather than fix local roads and bridges. When Sen. Mark Huizenga, R-Walker, introduced an amendment to House Bill 4016 to put $800 million of that money into improving local roads and bridges, Senate Democrats unanimously voted it down.

The Democrats voted instead to give $1.3 billion to Ford Motor Co. to build a battery plant in Marshall. Democrats, who have full control of the legislative and executive branches, have now spent $2.9 billion of taxpayer money on corporate welfare since coming to power in January.

“All the gains in reduction of poor bridges over the last 10 years have now been lost,” the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council said in its 2021 annual report. “Given the current rate of bridge deterioration, the percent of bridges in poor condition will continue to rise until significant increases in investment are made.”

Yet Democrats gave money to Ford, which had $23.66 billion in annual gross profit in 2022.

“Our budget surplus is a once-in-a-generation opportunity — an opportunity to provide real tax relief, invest in infrastructure, support our schools, and improve our entire state in so many ways,” Huizenga said in a press release. “My amendment would have used our surplus more wisely. Instead of a massive giveaway of historic proportions to one industry — that has already seen enormous financial support this year — my amendment would have invested these funds directly into our local roads and our local communities.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer did not respond to a request for comment.

“Fix the damn roads” was Whitmer’s 2018 campaign slogan.

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.