Bill would set asset limits, drug testing and work requirements

LANSING, Mich., Dec. 8, 2021 — State Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) introduced a bill Tuesday to impose eligibility requirements on public subsidies provided to businesses through the Michigan Strategic Fund. The partners, C-suite executives and top managers of companies receiving the subsidies would have to demonstrate that they meet requirements for workforce engagement, substance abuse screening and assets.

“Economic development funds are supposed to stabilize struggling businesses and enable them to invest in Michigan jobs,” Rabhi said. “But too often, we see profitable corporations asking for public subsidies, even as they provide massive payouts to shareholders and multimillion-dollar compensation packages to executives. Michiganders deserve to be confident that funds are going where they are truly needed.”

House Bill 5622 mirrors requirements in the Social Welfare Act in order to receive benefits under the Michigan Strategic Fund, such as grants and loans from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. It would require top personnel at subsidized businesses to comply with the same workforce engagement reporting requirement enacted in 2018 for Medicaid recipients and the same asset limit required for recipients of food and cash assistance. That asset limit has been raised during the pandemic to $15,000 for savings and $200,000 for a home. The Michigan Strategic Fund would also need to set up a substance abuse screening and testing program similar to the one enacted for cash assistance applicants in three counties in 2014.