LANSING — Legislation designed to attract large employers to the state with added tax breaks appears to have come to a grinding halt overnight.
Multiple news outlets reported that Speaker of the House Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, canceled a vote on the so-called “Good Jobs” legislation, claiming that Gov. Rick Snyder had made unspecified secret deals with House Democrats. Instead, the GOP-controlled body adjourned for its three-week summer break without voting on the legislation.
“We agreed to put the pause button on the ‘Good Jobs for Michigan’ legislation until the governor gets back from Europe, can look me in the eyes and can look the caucus in the eyes and explain to them the answers to the questions that we have at this point,” Leonard said in an Associated Press report.
Snyder is currently in Europe with several business leaders on a week-long trade mission.
Previously, the legislation had enjoyed a fair amount of bipartisan backing and had the support of the governor, who spoke favorably of the tax incentives at last month’s Mackinac Policy Conference.
“We’ve been attracting businesses to Michigan, but they tend to be these smaller businesses,” Snyder said during a press conference on Mackinac Island. “That’s critically important, but now we’re finding success in larger organizations saying they want to come to Michigan. We need to have another tool in our toolkit to make sure we can get them in our state. We need a closer and that’s what this is about.”
The legislation would allow for up to 15 annual business expansion or attraction projects to capture up to half of the personal income tax generated by the new jobs. The legislation is capped at $250 million annually, and companies must create a minimum of 500 new jobs and pay 100 percent or more of the average regional wage, as MiBiz previously reported.
Snyder and other state business leaders had also been warning that there was some urgency to getting the legislation passed since at least one major employer — reported to be Taiwan-based contract electronics manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group — was eying the state for up to 5,000 jobs and more than $4 billion in investment.
It’s since been reported that Foxconn is considering sites in Wisconsin. It’s unclear whether Michigan is still in the running for the expansion.
Locally, the legislation had public support from Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and The Right Place Inc. President and CEO Birgit Klohs.