News Story

Tlaib Has Obscenities For Opponents, But Yea-Votes For Corporate Welfare

She approved $1.03 billion worth of corporate handouts but calls them a ‘power grab’ that hurts people

Newly sworn-in U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan, sparked an international controversy when she used an obscenity when referring to President Donald Trump and her goal of impeaching him.

Dozens of media sites wrote about Tlaib’s comment, including CNN and the BBC.

But Tlaib’s remarks in a Jan. 1 Detroit News commentary should be even more troubling to Michigan taxpayers, because in it she discussed a bipartisan practice - which she approved - that continues to cost them money.

Tlaib described taxpayer-funded subsidies given to wealthy corporations such as General Motors as a “power grab” that was “enabled by politicians who didn’t want to listen to the people hurt by their actions.”

But Tlaib’s words would have more weight if not for her own voting record on special favors for corporations when she was a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 2009 through 2014.

Tlaib served three terms in the state House from 2009 to 2014. During those years, she cast eight votes authorizing state taxpayer-funded subsidies to corporations and developers, voting “yes” in each instance. Altogether, she voted to authorize transferring $1.031 billion in state tax money to politically favored businesses, with much of the money coming from individuals and small businesses.

In her newspaper commentary, Tlaib said the “we cannot continue to subsidize their [corporations’] greed with taxpayer dollars and get nothing in return.”

Yet rather than trying to shut down the wealth transfers, as a state representative, Tlaib took every opportunity that came before her to authorize more of them.

Here’s what Michigan Capitol Confidential reported last month on Tlaib’s history of supporting “corporate greed”:

Among the bills Tlaib approved was one authorizing a $253 million subsidy for electric car battery makers. Another one was for $228 million for a state “21st Century Jobs Fund,” which writes subsidy checks to scores of private businesses.

Here is a list of the bills, with the amount authorized by each:

$100,000,000. Senate Bill 777. Subsidize battery scheme in former Wixom auto plant. House Roll Call 469 on Sept. 10, 2009.

$253,000,000. House Bill 5469. Give subsidies to electric car battery makers. House Roll Call 676 on Dec. 17, 2009.

$365,000,000. Give subsidies to electric car battery makers. House Roll Call 96 on March 26, 2009. Senate Roll Call 83 on March 11, 2009.

$9,500,000. Senate Bill 619. Tourism industry marketing subsidies. House Roll Call 122 on March 3, 2010.

$24,000,000. Senate Bill 944. Subsidize developers’ ‘historic’ building rehabs. House Roll Call 555 on Dec. 3, 2009.

$50,000,000. Senate Bill 855. Subsidize electric car battery maker in former Wixom auto plant. House Roll Call 613 on Dec. 8, 2011.

$2,400,000. House Bill 5732. Make subsidies for developers saleable to others. House Roll Call 680 on June 12, 2012.

$228,000,000. Senate Bill 269. Authorize an extension to the ‘21st Century Jobs Fund’ for various business subsidies and other favors. House Roll Call 719 on Dec. 18, 2014.

Note: On Dec. 20, 2018, the Michigan House approved and sent to the governor a bill to again extend this last program for another four years and $300 million. The bill is now Public Act 577 of 2018. Tlaib’s last term in the Legislature ended in 2014.

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.