Political intrigue is being blamed for the collapse of a deal for the state to offer big tax breaks to employers who bring a lot of jobs to Michigan. An angry state House Republican leader canceled a vote on Governor Rick Snyder‘s top priority for the Legislature’s spring and summer session. House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) accused the governor’s bargaining team of making side deals with Democrats and unions without informing GOP leaders.
“We believe that deals were cut that would undermine Republican caucus priorities and, as such, we need to know what these deals were before we proceed with this legislation,” Leonard says.
The deals may have included promises to veto GOP bills related to union rights. House Minority Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) says he’s not aware of any side deals, and Democrats were ready to vote.
“I do believe we should have taken a vote because we were ready to bring good jobs to Michigan,” Singh says. “I’m looking forward to any continued conversation. I’m open to the speaker, the governor, anyone who wants to make this a priority.”
Snyder spokesman Ari Adler says the governor plans to meet with House and Senate leaders next week after he returns from an overseas trip.
“It sounds like the best thing now is for everyone to get some rest so that the leaders can regroup next week with the governor to talk through any concerns they have, or get additional information they might need on how we move forward.” Adler says.
The controversial incentive would help a select number of employers who bring hundreds or thousands of jobs that pay average or above-average wages to Michigan. Those who fulfill their job promises would be allowed to keep a share of state income taxes that would normally be paid by their workers.
Click the audio player to hear Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta talk about the story with WDET’s Pat Batcheller.