LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, issued the following statement Tuesday related to the Marshall megasite:
“The bloated and misguided economic development package pending in the Michigan Legislature is not the way to support the Marshall community, Ford or the U.S. auto industry.
“A major concern is the overall cost of this economic development project to Michigan taxpayers. Combining the resources that would go to site development, property tax reductions and corporations, the public price tag is about $1.7 billion — or roughly $680,000 for each direct job that is expected to be created. The average annual pay for these jobs is roughly 15% below the median household income for Calhoun County — I seriously doubt Michigan taxpayers would ever receive an adequate return on investment with this scale of commitment. Over the next 20 years, the investment is expected to return less to the state in personal income and sales tax revenue than the state’s investment. It crosses the line from commonsense economic development into corporate welfare — and worse, it benefits a Chinese company affiliated with the project.
“I also have major concerns about the SOAR program itself. I initially supported the concept, but I do not believe the process is working as intended. Changes are needed.
“SOAR decisions should not be developed in secret. More public oversight, transparency and accountability are needed so communities and their elected representatives at every level are better informed at every step of the process. The SOAR process continually puts the cart before the horse.
“Finally, one of the benefits of boosting U.S. production of critical manufacturing and technology components should be to ensure we are not beholden to Chinese companies for these types of products in any way — including as a technical service advisor. This proposal moves us in the wrong direction. It also raises concerns about national security and personal privacy, particularly in light of recent events with surveillance equipment sent over the United States and other nations. The Communist Chinese government also has a horrendous human rights record — including accusations of torture, and forced detention where people were forced to abandon their language and religion. That must be considered when making a determination on this project.”