(UnitedVoice.com) – In October 2022, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced Gotion Inc., a battery company, was going to build a factory in Grand Rapids. She said the company intended to invest $2.36 billion to create 2,350 new jobs. State lawmakers have now put the project on hold because of reported ties to China.
Gotion's project in Big Rapids is the biggest economic development project in Northern Michigan ever. Even sweeter? We beat a number of states for the project: Michigan will be home to its first US manufacturing presence.
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) October 5, 2022
In the months since the deal was announced, concerns about the company’s ties to China have raised concerns. On Wednesday, April 19, a state Senate committee approved $410 million in incentives for two battery manufacturing plants, a Ford battery plant and an Our New Energy facility. However, it put the Gotion project on hold for an indeterminate amount of time.
The Gotion plant was supposed to be a 3-million-square-foot facility. While many people in the community are excited about the jobs, others are very concerned about the Chinese Communist Party owning Gotion’s parent company. Local groups called on lawmakers to halt the project, and that’s what they did.
Republicans and Democrats have raised questions about the factory. Conservatives held a press conference to discuss their concerns. They said they think it’s a mistake to allow the state to incentivize the company to build something in Michigan. Former US Ambassador Joseph Cella pointed out that US intelligence agencies warned about the “threat that [Chinese]-based companies tied” to the communist party could have on the US “national security.”
Bridge Michigan reported Senate Appropriations Chair Sarah Anthony (D) told the press after the meeting that lawmakers “still have some more questions.” She said the committee is vetting the project as it does with others. Ultimately, Democrats have the final say because they hold the majority, but it’s not clear whether they are going to agree to it.
Anthony refused to say whether lawmakers would eventually approve the project, so for now, it sits on the back burner.
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