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Governor Rick Snyder’s election seven years ago was supposed to represent the political triumph of “economic gardening,” the idea that government doesn’t offer big incentives to land big companies and, thus, pick winners and losers.

Instead, the idea goes, economic gardening works to create an overall environment that allows businesses and startups to grow organically. The benefits are supposed to be fairness to both small and large businesses and that tax breaks and incentives are more across the board.

factory
Thomas Hawk / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Wisconsin recently offered up to $3 billion in tax incentives to FoxConn of Taiwan. In Detroit, there have been hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives for a new arena for the Red Wings and Pistons and for developments by businessman Dan Gilbert, as well as huge tax credits for auto manufacturers.

Now, states and cities are trying to put together incentives to get Amazon’s new massive Headquarters 2. But the question remains: will citizens actually benefit from their tax dollars being spent to attract or retain business?

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Heard about America’s new parlor game? Global corporations are playing regions and taxpayers off one another to land the richest deal. And Michigan is in the game. So far, anyway.

Earlier this week, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed legislation obligating his state’s taxpayers to pay Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology a cool $2.85 billion in cash. That’s billion with a “B.”

What for? To offset its payroll and capital costs to set up shop in the southeast corner of that state.

laptop with Foxconn label on it
Christopher Bulle / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's a big game hunt, with big investment and a lot of jobs on the line. 

This week, Wisconsin's governor signed the legislation that landed a monster project from Taiwan-based Foxconn, which is promising a $10 billion investment and up to 13,000 jobs. 

But at what price to taxpayers?

Rick Snyder and Terry Gou shaking hands
Michigan Governor's Office

 


A lot is happening with Michigan’s business relationship with China these days.

Shortly after losing out to Wisconsin for a massive new Foxconn facility, Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a major tax incentive package designed to attract Foxconn and other foreign corporations to the state. Now, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant is rumored to have plans for a smaller facility in Michigan after all. 

Rick Snyder and Terry Gou shaking hands
Michigan Governor's Office

A Chinese newspaper is reporting that Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics giant, plans to build a multi-billion dollar facility in Michigan.

The South China Morning Post reports the company's founder, Terry Gou, says he plans to build an autonomous vehicles research and development center in Michigan.

Neither Foxconn nor Gov. Rick Snyder, who met with Gou yesterday, have confirmed the report.   Snyder is on a trade mission in China.