LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Roger Hauck on Thursday issued the following statement after the Democratic-led Senate Committee on Appropriations signed off on a plan to use hundreds of millions of state tax dollars for the proposed Gotion, Inc. battery parts plant in Big Rapids:
“Over the past few months, I have tried to support the proposed Gotion battery project in Big Rapids. The proposal promised to bring over 2,000 good-paying jobs to our community, and as a former hourly worker on a factory floor, I know how transformative a project of this magnitude can be for a community and the opportunities it brings for area families.
“Major developments such as this are not just about the number of jobs promised, but also about the indirect benefits to the community and other local businesses. For these reasons, I’ve tried my hardest to get behind this development and give the company latitude in addressing the concerns that have been raised by local residents, by lawmakers, and by people across the state.
“Unfortunately, the company has failed to maintain transparency on the most basic questions and concerns as to whether or not this is a smart investment for our state. What I’ve seen over the past few months has been an outright community relations disaster by this company that leaves legitimate questions on their ability to gain the trust and support of our state and local community.
“This is not the way that partnerships should work. It’s hard for me to support a project when there is a fundamental lack of trust between the company and the community — especially when our tax dollars are at stake.
“Because of the process legislative Democrats have chosen to move this initiative forward, I won’t have an opportunity to vote on this project, but I wanted residents to know where I stood and that I actively opposed this use of taxpayer dollars.”