A local lawmaker says her legislation would hold entities receiving taxpayer assistance more accountable.

Republican State Senator Lana Theis of Brighton Township introduced legislation this past week as part of a 10 bill bipartisan plan aimed at strengthening transparency and accountability measures for state governments and recipients of certain business tax credits and incentives.

Theis said in a release that “for too long, taxpayer-funded corporate welfare programs have sounded better than they have worked.” She said “little is being done to ensure taxpayers are getting a return on their investment in these business subsidy deals.” Senate Bill 770 would require that the Michigan Economic Development Corporation post a notice on its website when a recipient of funds fails to meet the terms of a written agreement, requests to amend an agreement, and/or when a recipient ceases business operations. Theis says this bill will ensure that state administrators can no longer be “simply cheerleaders of their successes”, but must also be “upfront with the public about deals that have not gone as planned.”

Other bills in the plan would require the Michigan Strategic Fund board to publicly share contract agreements and other pertinent information on its website 10 business days before it can approve a grant, restore disclosure requirements from Michigan Economic Growth Authority tax credits, and transfer all funding that is returned because of failed agreements to the state’s general fund, rather than the MSF.

The Senate legislation has been referred to the Economic and Small Business Development Committee for consideration. (MK)