New York Times: Analysis shows communities like Ypsilanti Township pay high price for business tax incentives
Manufacturing —Â and particularly the automotive industry —Â is the top target for business tax incentives from state and local governments, The New York Times reports Sunday in a lengthy analysis that cites prominent examples from Ypsilanti Township and other Michigan cities.
Yet the heavy spending on incentives carries little clear evidence of resulting jobs growth, and in many cases —Â such as in Ypsilanti Township, home of the massive, shuttered Willow Run plant —Â companies that took incentives for factories ended up closing them.
The Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research says $13.9 billion in incentives have been pledged to the auto industry nationwide since 1985. Automakers have also closed more than 267 plants in the U.S. since 1979, about half of which remain empty, according to CAR.
At least 50 properties in the 2009 list of liquidations of old GM assets were in towns and states that had awarded the automaker incentives, the Times found.
Ypsilanti Township, which awarded more than $200 million to GM for its two Willow Run plants, is suing over GM's departure. Doug Winters, the township's attorney, told the Times, "We're their own private ATM. When they need money, they come begging, but when they don't want oversight, they say 'get out of the way.'"
Today, a trust is marketing the Willow Run facility as valuable —Â even as it pleads for lower property taxes from the township because it says the plant isn't worth much.
Ypsilanti Township has already made numerous staffing cuts, but Supervisor Brenda Stumbo said she'd be willing to grant GM more incentives if the company brought back jobs.
Read the entire New York Times story here.