LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation Monday to spend $1.5 billion on economic development efforts for businesses, including possible funds to build a General Motors factory to manufacture electric vehicle batteries in the Lansing area.
The legislation creates the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund, which will be funded from state revenue with $1 billion to be used for assistance to companies.
Funds totaling $409 million will also be allocated to support restaurants, gyms and other areas of business highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legislation, which includes four bills, passed the GOP-led Legislature with bipartisan support last week.
“Thanks to the effective collaboration between legislative leadership, my administration, and community and business leaders, I signed bills that will back small businesses and empower Michigan to grow and attract billions in investment and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs," Whitmer said in a news release Monday.
GM's plans to build its third U.S.-based electric vehicle battery plant were announced earlier this month. GM said the plant would cost as much as $2.5 billion to build and employ up to 1,700 people, starting operation in 2025.
Other large-scale opportunities could be coming Michigan's way if the state can lure in businesses, said Wendy Block, vice president of Business Advocacy and Member Engagement for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, earlier this month.
The Michigan Manufacturer's Association echoed Block's sentiment in the news release from the governor's office.
“Michigan must out-compete other states to attract and retain manufacturing investment," MMA CEO John Walsh said. “We commend the Legislature and the Whitmer Administration for working together and coordinating closely with the manufacturing industry to allow us to engage in the interstate battle for current and future jobs and investments."
Anna Liz Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.