Inside the offer: Michigan pitched microchip company billions in tax incentives. It wasn’t enough.

July 26, 2023

Detroit News: Inside the offer: Michigan pitched microchip company billions in tax incentives. It wasn’t enough.

From the story:

A red push pin is put into a map of Michigan.
Source: Getty Images Signature

“Michigan offered an Idaho-based semiconductor company $2.5 billion in direct incentives to locate its sprawling development on a rural tract of farmland northwest of Lansing — a significant commitment of taxpayer resources that still fell about $3 billion short of New York’s successful bid for Micron Technology to locate near Syracuse.

State economic development officials disclosed this week that they also promised Micron $277 million in direct incentives for its suppliers, more than $800 million for site preparation and infrastructure in Clinton County’s Eagle Township and another $480 million in job training for the facility. The total upfront taxpayer investment, pending legislative approval, was more than $4 billion, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The state’s September offer also included a 50-year property tax break amounting to about $23.8 billion in tax savings for the company over the lifetime of the abatement, according to the MEDC. That tax break would be offset at least partially by a negotiated payment in lieu of taxes.

All told, the direct and indirect taxpayer cash and the half-century-long tax break amounted to at least $27.9 billion in incentives for an effort dubbed “Project Copper” to lure Micron and its massive investment to mid-Michigan. The incentive package is the largest known offer of tax incentives made to a company since Michigan lawmakers created a multibillion-dollar business attraction fund in 2021 aimed at going head-to-head with other states through direct and indirect cash payments for jobs…

Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that tracks state and local economic incentives, said New York’s Micron deal ranks as the second largest ever in the United States in at least the past two decades. Michigan’s offer would have put it in the top 10.

“There’s been a dramatic escalation in the number of these mega deals and their overall size,” said Jacob Whiton, a Detroit-based research analyst for the group. “It’s become an arms race among states for these priority industries.”

Read the full story at The Detroit News. (paywalled)