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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Business tax breaks don't work

  The head of the state's largest teacher's union has attacked the touchstone of the Granholm administration namely its economic development strategy.
  Lu Battaglieri is blunt, "The way we are doing economic development is ludicrous."
  The MEA executive director's remarks came at a workshop in East Lansing for a group of management and labor officials.
  He took aim at the administration's use of P.A. 198 the so-called "Mega giveaway" program as he labeled it.  He told the audience it is one thing to grant a twelve year tax abatement to attract or keep businesses to Michigan, but there is "no accountability" to show if the program is working create.
  Of course from the educator's standpoint, any loss of property taxes means fewer dollars for the schools.  Battaglieri contends a billion dollars a year is lost in property taxes to local government.
  "A dollar on education produces more than tax subsidies," he argues and for every one-dollar spent on pre-school education, he contends the state reaps seven dollars in return.
  Battaglieri's appearance came after reports were released that the drop out rate for Detroit high school students was the highest in the nation, however he told the audience "$3.7 biliion would be added to the economy if we got more students of color to graduate from high school."
 Given his anti-Mega remarks, Battaglieri was asked if he was joining the Mackinac Center which has opposed P.A. 198 from the time former Gov. John Engler reluctantly proposed it.
 The union head gave a firm no.


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