FACT CHECK: Special Interest PACs Continue to Pour Money Into Michigan to Prop Up Tudor Dixon’s Backwards Agenda for Michigan￼
Dangerous Tudor Dixon continues to rely on special interests to sell her wrong-for-Michigan agenda. Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity is just the latest national special interest to propping her up and broadcasting her backwards vision that would harm working families.
To date, outside groups and opponents have already spent more than $16 million to push bogus attacks against Governor Whitmer this cycle. Here are the facts:
With This Latest Investment, Koch-Founded Americans for Prosperity is Expanding Their Investment Into DeVos Sellout Tudor Dixon
Founded by a Koch Brother, Americans for Prosperity is an “astroturf political group” noted for “incubating” the Tea Party and taking “extraordinary” lengths to install all three of the previous administration’s U.S. Supreme Court picks on the bench – a move that proved fatal for nationwide reproductive freedom.
In Michigan, AFP’s track record is just as devastating. Providing bribes and facilitating protests, the group played an integral role in swaying state legislators to back Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2012 Right to Work law. It yielded massive anti-worker impacts that are still being felt by working families today not only in-state but across the country as it “pave[d] the way for right to work” copycat legislation to crop up in other states.
Spurred to pursue their extreme agenda by any means necessary, AFP engaged in the “emotional terrorism” tactic of posting fake eviction notices on Detroiters’ doors to oppose the construction of a bridge – all while “refusing to disclose which of its corporate backers” were behind the callous stunt pulled during the height of a foreclosure crisis.
With this latest ad campaign signifying their increased investment in the race, the Koch-backed group is mirroring the DeVos family’s effort to bankroll Tudor Dixon’s campaign at any rate necessary. To date, the DeVos family has already “contributed more than $4 million to outside groups,” $1 million of which went to Michigan Families United, a PAC “shrouded in secrecy” that runs the majority of the airwave interference propping up Dixon’s campaign.
But Koch and the DeVoses aren’t alone. After they publicly lined up behind her, PACs supporting Dixon funded by other “deep-pocketed donors” were able to spend “a combined $2.18 million” in her favor to drag her through the bitter primary. This outpaces Dixon’s own advertising spending 20 times over and even surpasses what she raised for her campaign in total.
So far this cycle, one PAC put five figures on the radio, another threw in $100,000, a different one “reserved $103,000 worth of airtime,” another announced a $1 million ad campaign, and Susan B. Anthony List announced they would be parachuting in six figures.
Despite Challenges Of The Last Few Years, Governor Whitmer is Cutting Costs for Working Families, Improving Education, and Boosting Michigan’s Economy, All Without Raising Taxes
Governor Whitmer has consistently worked across the aisle to pass three balanced budgets and deliver cost-saving wins for Michigan working families without raising taxes.
And in February, she signed “a trio of bipartisan bills aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs,” adding to her proposal made in the beginning of the year to cap the monthly cost of insulin at $50 so Michiganders don’t have to choose between their health and keeping food on the table.
With Michigan seniors in mind, Governor Whitmer called on the legislature to fully repeal the retirement tax which would save half a million households an average of $1,000 annually. Separately, Whitmer has also proposed more than tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit from 6% to 20%.
To combat rising prices, Governor Whitmer lowered the cost of groceries for struggling Michigan families – an initiative that positively impacted “nearly 1.4 million Michiganders in more than 700,000 households.”
In December 2021, Governor Whitmer signed legislation allowing small business owners to pay income taxes at the business rather than individual level – a massive reform that will equal an estimated $200 million in annual tax savings for hundreds of thousands of eligible businesses. In another move to keep building gains for Michigan’s robust economic recovery, she also signed an economic package that included a $75 million tax cut for small businesses.
Governor Whitmer Has Made Historic Investments in Public Education, Closing Funding Gaps Between School Districts Across Michigan
As part of the bipartisan budget, Governor Whitmer recently signed a record $19.6 million investment in Michigan’s K-12 schools that created the highest per-pupil state funding in Michigan history – $9,150 for every kid, in every district. She negotiated resources to recruit more teachers, increase mental health care, improve school facilities, boost “career and technical education programs by 27 percent,” and expand before and after-school programming as well as free tutoring. She secured hundreds of millions of dollars to help schools build new classrooms, labs, and libraries and more on top of that to support every single school with safety initiatives.
These massive investments built on the bipartisan $17.1 billion dollar public education budget that completely closed a decades-long state funding gap between school districts, and made the “largest investment in PreK-12 schools in state history” — all without raising taxes.
Governor Whitmer’s unmatched investment boosted overall funding for schools by 10 percent and increased per-pupil funding by nearly $600 for 80 percent of districts, while the districts that already received the most funding saw a $171 per-student increase.
Earning the praise of Republican and Democratic legislators, Whitmer closed the school funding gap, “a goal the legislature has been working toward since 1994,” and is helping districts reduce class sizes and give students individualized attention.
To prevent devastating funding cuts to public schools, Whitmer vetoed a scheme to dismantle public education with devastating funding cuts that could have siphoned upwards of $500 million annually from public education.
Dixon’s Prior Experience Includes Running a “Dirty,” “Nasty” Steel Foundry That Maintained an Unsafe Work Environment and Couldn’t Pay Its Bills
Tudor Dixon has frequently pointed to her experience as an executive leading sales and human resources at Muskegon steel foundry Michigan Steel for years before the company laid off its entire 300-employee workforce and was completely liquidated by 2013. In her own accounts on the campaign trail, Dixon established herself as a company executive with a hand in “every aspect” of Michigan Steel’s day-to-day operations.
Despite Dixon’s claims that she ensured safety was a priority, recent reporting from Bridge Michigan details how the foundry regularly cut corners under her leadership, creating a “friggin’ dangerous” workplace environment that resulted in serious injuries for employees as they handled heavy equipment and molten metals.
During Dixon’s tenure, Michigan Steel developed a pattern of workplace injuries so extensive the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration levied tens of thousands in fines against the foundry for repeated “regulatory violations.”
If that wasn’t bad enough, Dixon’s failed leadership resulted in Michigan Steel earning a reputation as a “half-assed” business that “struggled to pay bills” even while the steel industry was booming.
The company failed to pay vendors, bounced checks, got sacked with tax liens, refused to pay utility bills to the point that even trash pickup got suspended, had foundry property “seized by court officers,” and “maintain[ed] its own operations by using ‘other companies’ money.’” The foundry racked up dozens of lawsuits from as many entities over unpaid bills. Michigan Steel even failed to honor a number of the court-ordered settlements totaling half a million dollars owed to vendors, an agreement breach that was never satisfied upon the foundry’s closure.
Tudor Dixon’s Budget Plan Would Slash Billions From Michigan Law Enforcement
A major pillar of Tudor Dixon’s wrong-for-Michigan agenda is her crusade to force billions in cuts to budgets impacting the critical services that keep our streets safe.
Dixon proposed a “piss-poor public policy proposal” that “those who watch the state’s budget closely said would be catastrophic for funding.” It is estimated to eliminate nearly $12 billion from the budget and $8 billion from the general fund, threatening the “primary funding source” providing over 60% of Michigan State Police budget and threatening thousands of law enforcement jobs.
The Michigan Association of Police Organizations warned in 2017 that plans like these “would have a devastating impact on police budgets at the state and local levels” and leave law enforcement “crippled.” Earlier this year, MAPO reiterated their opposition to a similar plan, noting that it “would reduce police protection and create ‘long-term budget problems.’”
Dixon has said she “absolutely” supported “phas[ing] out” funding streams for critical services as quickly as possible. She has yet to identify how or if she would replace the law enforcement funding eliminated by this “dramatic shift in state government operations.” This trend continued as Detroit News reported that Dixon still “has not provided specifics” of how she plans to rip billions out of Michigan’s budget and fully fund law enforcement at the same time.
Dixon Cheered on the Ambassador Bridge Blockade, Panned GM’s 4,000 Job-Creating, $7 Billion Dollar Investment in Michigan, and is Now Railing Against Even More Job Creation
Tudor Dixon’s disdain for the auto industry has been evident to working families since she launched her bid for governor.
As “major international gateway” Ambassador Bridge was shut down due to an illegal blockade that impacted $356 million of goods daily, Dixon threw her support behind this major economic chokehold on Michigan and encouraged it to continue.
The auto industry suffered “$299.9 million in direct losses,” and assembly plants at GM and Ford were forced to cancel shifts due to a lack of parts traveling across the bridge, which resulted in workers weathering up to $51 million in lost wages.
Additionally, Dixon was dismissive of GM’s $7 billion dollar investment in “making Michigan the ‘hub’ of electric vehicle development and manufacturing.” Dixon supporter and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey even praised the deal as a “historic” job-creator, as GM is expected to bring 4,000 new good-paying positions to Michigan.
But it’s not just Michigan’s thriving auto industry that Dixon wants to undermine to satisfy her kneejerk hyperpartisanship, she’s now speaking out against a bipartisan plan to lure a multibillion-dollar investment to northern Michigan. Despite the fact that the deal would create over 2,000 jobs in the area and was celebrated by local leaders as a huge “[benefit] to our students, families, and the whole community,” Dixon emphasized her willingness to use the governor’s office to divert job-creating companies to other states.
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