Corporate welfare to train station, Whitmer’s lead in gubernatorial race: Your Tuesday Morning Briefing

Michigan Central Station

“Morning Briefing” is a new feature in Motor City Muckraker to keep you informed as we add award-winning reporters to our independent newsroom that soon will be a nonprofit watchdog. Your donations are key to our ability to produce more vigorous, meaningful, nonpartisan journalism at a time when news rooms are cutting back on impactful, investigative stories.

These are the top stories you’re waking up to:

Whitmer holds double-digit lead over Schuette for governor

Gretchen Whitmer

Democrat Gretchen Whitmer has a 14-percentage-point lead against her Republican opponent Bill Schuette in the race for Michigan governor, according to a new statewide poll.

The survey of 600 likely Michigan voters, which was conducted for the Detroit News and WDIV-TV between Sept. 5-7, found that Whitmer, a former state lawmaker, carried the lead despite Schuette, the state’s attorney general, having more name recognition.

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The survey found that 49.8% said they would vote for Whitmer, compared to 36.1% for Schuette. Another 10% are undecided, and 4% would vote for a third-party candidate.

Schuette, a longtime Trump supporter, has been endorsed by the embattled president. The poll found that 57% of those surveyed had an unfavorable opinion of Trump.

Trump’s low favorability rating could hurt GOP candidates in Michigan

President Trump’s favorability ratings in Michigan continue to be low, and that could be bad news for Republicans.

A survey for the Detroit News and WDIV-TV found that 57% of 600 likely voters had an unfavorable opinion of Trump, compared to 37% with a favorable opinion. Those numbers mirror a similar poll conducted in January.

Trump’s job-approval rating was 44%, while 51% said they don’t approve his work.

Trump narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election in Michigan.

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More than $200M in corporate welfare to finance train station’s renovation

The city of Detroit plans to dish out more than $100 million in tax abatements to Ford to transform the abandoned Michigan Central Station into a tech campus for automakers, the Free Press reports.

The campus is expected to generate as many as 5,000 job, according to Ford, which estimated it would cost $740 million to renovate the train station.

The Detroit Economic Growth Corp. released its breakdown of tax incentives on Monday.

Another $135 million in tax abatements would come from other sources, bringing the total public investment to $238.6 million.

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Some critics have slammed the tax abatements as corporate welfare at a time when public money is scarce.

“We got a company taking $100 million out of city future tax receipts. They’re taking the cool thing we did — the train station is the most famous building in the world. This is the good thing. We’re going to have $100 million less, just in the city, to do stuff,” North Corktown resident Jon Koller told the Free Press.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.