FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan
December 8, 2021
Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lawmakers Signing Secrecy Agreements on Corporate Tax Breaks
MICHIGAN – Progress Michigan is raising major concerns today after news broke that state lawmakers have signed non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) surrounding pending tax break legislation for corporations.
According to a recent report by the Detroit News, “some lawmakers have signed non-disclosure agreements preventing them from discussing details of at least one potential development that could benefit from the initiative.”
“These NDAs may just be pieces of paper, but they should be seen as a major red flag for working people across this state who care about accountable government. Michigan needs more transparency, not less. If our lawmakers can’t bring in jobs without shady backroom deals that have to be shielded from the public, then are these deals even good for our state?” questioned Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Lawmakers are supposed to serve the people of this state, not corporate interests. We’re not even sure how it’s possible or legal for a lawmaker to sign an NDA about pending legislation that impacts the public.”
Michigan already has the worst ethics and transparency rankings in the entire country and lawmakers hiding behind an NDA only adds to Michigan’s transparency problems. The legislature is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act and is beholden only to weak financial reporting laws.
“As Progress Michigan continues to try and shine more light on the inner workings of the legislature, these NDAs only pull the curtains closed. The Legislature has been complaining loudly and correctly about the secrecy of the Redistricting Commission but now they believe they can do the public’s business in secret. What hypocrisy,” Scott continued. “Trust dies when deals like this are cut behind closed doors. Any deals involving public money need to be done in public. If businesses want access to public resources, then they need to face the scrutiny of the public eye. We will remember these actions in March when inevitably these same lawmakers trot out statements for Sunshine Week supporting transparency. They can show their support for transparent government now, by coming clean about these agreements. We are calling for the details of these NDAs to immediately be made public.”