The Gongwer Blog

Whitmer Doesn't Like Siphoned SOAR Funds; Tate Talks Transparency

By Elena Durnbaugh
Staff Writer
Posted: March 22, 2024 3:39 PM

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is hoping to iron out some details of the economic development package passed by the Senate this week once it gets to the House.

Whitmer said that she did not agree with the Senate's decision to move half of the funding designated for the Strategic Outreach Attraction Reserve program to the Michigan 360 fund (See Gongwer Michigan Report March 19, 2024) in a conversation with reporters following a separate event on Thursday.

"We had an ongoing dialogue," she said. "That was something we had not thoroughly discussed, and so I'm confident that as the bills movie into the House, we'll be able to have a little more thoughtful dialogue on that front."

The governor was pleased that the Senate voted on the package before the Legislature left on its spring break.

"I think that's real progress," she said. "Now, we've got an opportunity to make them better."

On Wednesday, the governor's office provided a statement vaguely praising the bills sent to the House, but not directly addressing the shift in SOAR funds (See Gongwer Michigan Report, March 20, 2024).

House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit) said his chamber was ready to work with the governor and the Senate to make Michigan as competitive as possible.

"Last year, we did an R&D Tax Credit package, as well as some other economic development tools that we sent over to the Senate," he said. "I think there's a big appetite around that, because we want to be very competitive, and I know that's the governor's vision as well."

Tate also addressed the transparency bills introduced by members of his caucus last week (See Gongwer Michigan Report March 13, 2024) saying he thought there were some items in the package the House could address, but he fell short of committing to any specific aspects of the legislation.

"We're going to go through committee, it's going to be a deliberation process," he said. "There are items that we can, and we will, look at. I think this is something that has been a part of our values as House Dems, and we're going to continue to do that work."

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