New $1B economic development fund is geared to state compete on 'even playing field

Ford Motor Company announced investments in the billions going to new plants in Kentucky and Tennessee recently, bypassing the state of Michigan and leaving its leaders out in the proverbial cold.

That was when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state legislature knew it had to come up with a plan, she said.

"This process started months ago, well weeks ago, when one of our iconic Michigan businesses made an announcement of investment not in Michigan," she said.

On Monday Whitmer signed legislation to attract billions in investment opportunities and create thousands of jobs in Michigan.

"It will empower Michigan to win big, bold, economic development projects," Whitmer said.

The legislation works to put Michigan first by supporting small businesses and investing in a $1 billion economic development fund, letting it compete for major investment opportunities.

"We will invest a billion dollars Into the strategic economic development effort that are being headed by the MEDC," she said.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation says it has several projects in the pipeline that will total billions of investments.

"I'm confident we’re going to win our share of projects," Whitmer said.

The signing of this bi partisan legislation also demonstrates what can happen when both sides of the aisle work together, officials said.

"So let’s lock arms and leave here today and leave here today as one united Michigan," said Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R).

"Good things happen when Republicans and Democrats work together," Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. "What these bills do is give us the opportunity to say we can take on Indiana, Ohio, if we have a level playing field."

"Today is a testament to what is possible when we center our work around solving problems and putting Michiganders first," Whitmer said.