Audit: Michigan should better monitor job-creation promises

By DAVID EGGERT
Associated Press
LANSING — Michigan’s economic development arm should better ensure that businesses receiving cash incentives create and keep promised jobs, according to a state audit released Wednesday.
Auditors reviewed Michigan Business Development Program incentives that were awarded over a nearly three-year period ending in mid-2017. They found that the Michigan Strategic Fund’s process for awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and loans to companies was sufficient, while the monitoring of compliance was “moderately effective.”
Auditors highlighted three reportable, or less serious, findings — including that the state should strengthen how it verifies that businesses have added enough new jobs to qualify for funding.
The Strategic Fund, they said, did not require companies to provide sufficient employee information — such as names or Social Security numbers — so it could check through an independent source like the secretary of state’s office or the Unemployment Insurance Agency. Data supplied by the businesses is not impartial, according to the audit .
The Strategic Fund disagreed with that finding and others, defending its process for collecting and verifying worker information as “robust.” Accessing information at other agencies would pose significant legal and confidentiality concerns, according to a response to auditors that said the state uses multiple sources to confirm employees are actively working.