State Democrats Approve Chinese Company's Construction of Facility in US, Hands Over $715 Million in Incentives


There’s something for everyone on the political spectrum to hate about a massive government corporate welfare program for a Chinese corporation in Michigan — unless you’re an elected politician, of course.

For conservatives, the package would give $715 million in state incentives to Gotion, a battery manufacturer that’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of a Chinese conglomerate. For environmentalists, there are unanswered questions about the impact the plant will have.

For Michigan Democrats, however, it’s apparently a win-win.

According to regional outlet MLive, state lawmakers approved a plan Thursday that would give Gotion Inc. $175 million in direct grants to invest in the $2.4 billion battery facility. All 10 votes from the Senate Appropriations Committee came from Democrats, whereas three Democrats joined six Republicans in voting against the plan.

The project began attracting scrutiny after it was reported the Michigan Strategic Fund was showering grants and incentives on the project, including a 30-year tax break estimated to be worth $540 million to Gotion.

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The state’s liberals have touted the plan as a driver of jobs in a poor part of the state, with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer calling it “the biggest ever economic development project in Northern Michigan,” according to the Detroit News.

“If you have actually been into this area, it’s one of the poorest communities in the state,” said Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Sarah Anthony, a Democrat who represents the state capital of Lansing.

“So I think that it is a point of privilege for individuals to say that good paying jobs … for a very rural, very low-income area should not be considered with due diligence.”

Should American money be used to subsidize Chinese development?

The problem is that the 2,350 jobs would be provided by a company that, while incorporated in California, is a subsidiary of a Chinese firm. Both constituents and lawmakers protested the vote, both as a matter of security and economic impact.

U.S. GOP Rep. John Moolenaar of Michigan called the vote a “historic mistake.”

“This proposed facility will be 100 miles from Camp Grayling where the Michigan National Guard has trained military partners from Taiwan to prepare for possible CCP [Chinese Community Party] aggression,” Moolenaar said.

“Yet, Michigan’s state government leaders are siding with CCP-affiliated companies.”

Marjorie Steele, a resident of Big Rapids, Michigan — near where the plant would be built — also cited security concerns.

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“Your votes today, senators, are lines drawn in the sand,” she told lawmakers.

Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Kristina Karamo was even more blunt, echoing concerns about a Chinese-run company controlling land in the United States: “If you choose to give these funds to Gotion, you are a Benedict Arnold. You are a traitor to this republic.”

Well, instead of going over to the redcoats, Michigan Democrats have instead decided to go over to Red China. Nevertheless, Jerrilynn Strong, who is the chairwoman of the Mecosta County Board of Commissioners, chose to frame opposition to the project as a “small but vocal” group of activists and was happy it was going forward.

“I believe this project will be critical to the future of our region and our state,” she told lawmakers.

Well, yes, but perhaps not in the way she originally imagined. As we learned during the pandemic, having China exercising any kind of control over supply chains during times of crisis isn’t a good thing. They’re anything but an ally, and any Chinese-run business necessarily supports the goals and ambitions of the Chinese Communist Party first and foremost in times of necessity.

The Democrats are hell-bent on turning us into an EV-driving society at whiplash speed, yet they ignore just how much of the resources and manufacturing capacity of the batteries necessary for those vehicles — not to mention computers, smartphones and tablets — are in the hands of Beijing.

Now, Michigan is set to give nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars to a Chinese-run battery manufacturer in order to further the CCP’s stranglehold over one of the key resources of the future.

What could possibly go wrong?

At the very least, this money could have gone toward strengthening American corporations. Now, Michigan taxpayers are on the hook for the better part of a billion dollars being transferred to a Chinese conglomerate — and they get security and supply-chain concerns as a bonus. Nice work, Democrats.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture