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Business groups doubt Whitmer’s paid family leave, 100% clean energy goals

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(The Center Square) – Michigan lawmakers and business groups doubt Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s newly announced priorities, including a 100% clean energy goal and a paid family leave program.

Rep. Andrew Beeler, R-Port Huron, said increased state spending from the record $82 billion budget will require tax hikes to fund and will drive more residents to leave the state.

“With her emphasis on wasteful spending and costly policies, the governor announced in no uncertain terms that Democrats will keep pushing for higher costs this fall,” Beeler said in a statement. “After signing off on a bloated state budget, the governor decided to celebrate the shady pork projects given out to Democrat areas on the taxpayer dime. Democrats will have to raise the income tax to pay for all the waste.”

Beeler said the 100% clean energy goal would raise electricity costs, while the proposed paid family leave program would raise costs for employees and employers.

“Unrealistic carbon-free energy mandates will take hefty costs to implement, and residents will see their electricity rates go up to pay for it,” Beeler said. Then, a new tax on workers and businesses will slash wages and lead to higher prices for everyone, all to subsidize a new, ineffective leave-time program run by government bureaucrats. More government waste, burdensome new mandates, and higher taxes are the exact opposite of the policies Michiganders need to make their lives more affordable.”

Whitmer posted on social media paid family leave is a “win-win for employees and employers” and would help Michigan “attract and retain talent.” The state is fighting population loss as one report says 270,000 more residents are projected to leave the state by 2050.

Whitmer didn’t explain funding details, but Senate Bill 332 and House Bill 4574 aim to create a 15-week paid leave insurance program via a new payroll tax on employers and, in some instances, employees.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce says the program could cost businesses $1 billion or more annually.

“Under the proposal, the state could keep a staggering 5% of all taxes collected, allowing them to hire hundreds of new state workers to run their massive new paid leave insurance system,” MCC bill analysis says. “Businesses, particularly small businesses, already struggle to endure the costs associated with missed productivity of their workers. The cost to find temporary workers to fulfill their responsibilities in their absence is a double – or triple in some cases – tax on our job creators.”

The MCC, along with the Michigan Manufacturers Association, The Grand Rapids Chamber, The Detroit Regional Chamber, the American Chemistry Council and the Michigan Chemistry Council signed a letter expressing “strong concerns” with the 100% clean energy mandate and other goals detailed in Senate Bills 271, 272, 273, 274 and 276.

“If enacted, they have the potential to wreak havoc on Michigan’s economy and the power grid, negatively affecting millions of residents and businesses,” the business groups said. “Now more than ever, Michigan’s ability to attract new investment and jobs depends on access to clean, affordable and reliable energy.”

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