LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jonathan Lindsey hosted a press conference in the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday to discuss how the state of Michigan reviews taxpayer-funded economic development projects and potential concerns surrounding the Chinese-based Gotion, Inc. battery parts plant being proposed in Mecosta County.
“The Chinese government has become increasingly hostile toward America, from spying on our government to cyberattacks on both government entities and private businesses, and we ought to be exercising extreme diligence rather than the open-arm, no-questions-asked-approach being taken by the Democratic majority,” said Lindsey, R-Allen. “There are a number of environmental concerns and certainly some national security concerns that come with allowing a company associated with the Chinese Community Party to set up shop in Michigan.”
Lindsey was joined at the press conference by state Reps. Andrew Fink, R-Adams Township, David Martin, R-Davison, Jaime Greene, R-Richmond, and Luke Meerman, R-Coopersville; former U.S. Ambassador to Fiji Joseph Cella; and former U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands and previous chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee Pete Hoekstra.
The group discussed the proposed development in Big Rapids and how the state can improve its role in selecting and approving economic development projects that use taxpayer dollars. The core of the discussion centered around the deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and China and the national security concerns that surround the Big Rapids proposal — especially after Chinese companies have shown interest in brokering a deal with the Taliban for access to lithium deposits.
There was wide-ranging concern from participants that taxpayer dollars Gotion receives from the state will be funneled directly to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to further their interests — including money that could be used to complete deals with the Taliban, further placing our country at risk.
The Democratic-led Michigan House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations recently approved a legislative effort to provide grant funding for the proposed battery parts plant. Numerous lawmakers, including Lindsey, have raised concerns about the measure — which is currently before the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
Lindsey has been on record opposing taxpayer-funded economic development projects, such as the Gotion plant, and has also brought attention to the concerns surrounding companies with ties to the CCP doing business in Michigan. The senator recently proposed an amendment to a separate Democratic-led spending plan that would have ensured no Michigan taxpayer dollars would help further the interests of the CCP. The amendment was voted down by the Democratic majority.
“I do not believe we should be using taxpayer dollars to fund an expansion of a foreign company with ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Period,” Lindsey said. “This effort by the Democratic majority is corporate welfare of the worst kind. They’re willing to hand over money to a company that takes orders from the CCP and do so without any sort of diligence. This is a bad decision, and they’re handing the bill to taxpayers to pay for it.”
The complete press conference can be viewed here.