FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan
February 18, 2015
Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, firstname.lastname@example.org
Snyder Lied About Balanced Budget on Campaign Trail, MEDC Needs Transparency
Testimony from Treasury official states administration knew about budget shortfall in October
MICHIGAN — News broke today that the Snyder administration knew about the state’s massive budget shortfall last October while Gov. Rick Snyder campaigned on the premise that he had consistently balanced the budget.
During testimony to the Michigan House regarding the state’s massive deficit in the upcoming budget, MIRS News reported that an official with the Department of Treasury said the administration “became aware of the situation last fall.”
“The testimony today proves that Gov. Snyder purposefully deceived voters throughout the latter part of his reelection campaign,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Snyder ran on his accounting and budgeting experience, but now we know he was actively trying to hide a half a billion dollar budget shortfall from voters. The numbers don’t lie — but Gov. Snyder sure did.”
Through that same testimony, lawmakers were told that the state’s tax liability through Michigan Economic Development Corporation MEGA tax credits is $9.38 billion, according to MIRS News, which is almost the entirety of the state’s General Fund Budget during the fiscal year. The state is on the hook for the tax credits through 2031 at varying levels, topping off at $607 million by 2029 and declining after.
In light of the news, Progress Michigan is calling for complete disclosure and transparency at the MEDC. The MEDC faces pressure and influence from lobbying activity, which doesn’t have to be disclosed.
“With the MEDC doling out budget-busting tax credits and Gov. Snyder being aware of the situation, but not disclosing it to voters, it’s time for some much-needed transparency across the board,” Scott continued. “Giving huge tax credits to corporations without any accountability to the public is clearly a problem — and Gov. Snyder knew it. It’s time we opened up the books, disclosed lobbying and allowed the public and the media to dig into the actions of the MEDC.”
Progress Michigan will be sending a FOIA to the MEDC later this week asking for all documentation and communications regarding the MEGA tax credit program and lobbying activities that occur at the department.