Rutledge Demands Action to Create Jobs, Fight for Hire Michigan First

Legislator calls for bipartisan cooperation to use taxpayer dollars to support workers
Monday, January 31, 2011

LANSING – Calling for state leaders to back up their bipartisan talk with action, State Representative David Rutledge (D-Ypsilanti) today announced his plans to introduce the Hire Michigan First plan, an aggressive job-creation package that will put Michigan workers back on the job now by making sure they are first in line for the jobs their tax dollars create. The Hire Michigan First plan supports working families by rewarding companies that employ Michigan workers and cracks down on those that hire undocumented workers.

“Hire Michigan First is about standing up for our working families as we struggle through these tough economic times,” said Rutledge, a sponsor of the plan. “As many Michigan residents continue to face the daunting task of finding a job in a depressed economy, it is vital that their tax dollars are spent to create jobs for our state’s own talented workforce. This plan will bring transparency and accountability to state government, ensuring that we truly get a quality return on our investment and jobs for our workers.”

House Democrats passed the Hire Michigan First plan multiple times in past legislative sessions, but key provisions were gutted by the Senate.

The Hire Michigan First plan helps make sure that state economic development incentives and contracts are used to hire Michigan workers, as opposed to illegal immigrants or workers from other states. Michigan will spend nearly $3 billion this year on tax incentives for businesses, but under current law the state cannot determine how many jobs they create, or whether those jobs are going to Michigan workers.

The plan to be introduced on Tuesday:

• Gives companies that hire Michigan workers priority in the awarding of state tax incentives and other economic development tools.

• Creates transparency and accountability by requiring companies accepting incentives to report who they hire to ensure that Michigan residents are put first.

• Cracks down on companies that hire undocumented workers by creating penalties that can include requiring them to pay back their tax incentives and barring them from future state contracts.