Is the SEIU getting tax dollars to lobby in Michigan?

Detroit News columnist Daniel Hewes has this eye-popping story:

Nestled between this week's state tax credits for auto suppliers, a furniture maker and a few high-tech companies is this gem: A $2 million credit to a for-profit affiliate of the Service Employees International Union to build a “Member Action Center.”

The “shared organization” would “provide administrative services for the SEIU and other local labor organizations,” says the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Despite cost disadvantages here over rival sites, the project would invest $3 million and create 224 new jobs — in Redford Township.

That, by sheer coincidence, is the home of House Speaker Andy Dillon. He's the Democrat pushing a one-health-care-plan-for-all-state-employees that parts of the SEIU (among the most politically active unions in the nation right now) and other public-employee unions steadfastly oppose.

Which means the SEIU's new center and the hundreds of employees (theoretically) working there would become constituents of a speaker pushing the kind of reform that organized labor is working the Capitol to kill, not withstanding Michigan's “lost decade.”

This was all done by the Michigan Economic Development Corp.'s Michigan Economic Growth Authority board — which as Hewes notes, is composed almost entirely of gubernatorial appointees. Naturally, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. appears to be in bed with the SEIU:

A link from the MEDC site to the SEIU Michigan Council urges members to write their legislators to “set the record straight on state employee benefits” and touts a friendly study by Charles Ballard, a Michigan State professor with close ties to the Granholm administration [Michigan's Democratic governor].

And in case you need more evidence that this move is politically suspect:

When, I asked a ranking official inside the office of Gov. Jennifer Granholm, is the last time the MEDC offered a state tax credit to a labor union or to an affiliate of one? The response: “I don't think we've ever done that.”

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