Governor Gretchen Whitmer visited Pfizer in Kalamazoo on Wednesday.  The Governor joined members of the Pfizer team for a tour of its global manufacturing campus, where it shipped the first doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in late December.

In a release, the Governor once again inferred that corporate handouts helped develop the Pfizer vaccine stating that “Pfizer’s global manufacturing site in Kalamazoo was developed in 2018 through the Good Jobs for Michigan program.”   That claim is being disputed, just as it was last week when, during a press conference, Whitmer stated, “Little known fact, but Pfizer was the first business to utilize Good Jobs for Michigan and did so to build their sterile drug manufacturing plant in Portage, creating 450 good-paying jobs.”

The claim by Governor Whitmer is being questioned in an article by Michigan Capitol Confidential. 

Construction is not yet underway on the plant for which Pfizer is set to receive $10.5 million in state taxpayer-funded cash subsidies, plus an additional state grant of $1 million.  The sterile drug manufacturing plant, more formally known as a modular aseptic processing facility, is projected to contain 400,000 square feet. But it has not been built, according to multiple news reports, which Portage officials confirm.

Opponents of corporate welfare programs like Good Jobs for Michigan are not surprised.  "The governor exploited the good news of Pfizer's vaccine work to justify unrelated corporate welfare,” said Michael LaFaive, senior director of fiscal policy for the Mackinac Center. “It is not uncommon for politicians pushing corporate handouts to engage in aggrandizing puffery or hyperbole, but this may take such claims to a new level.”

During the photo-op in Kalamazoo, Governor Whitmer said, “This virus has challenged all of us in nearly every way imaginable, and yet through it all, the people of our state have stepped up and demonstrated the type of resilience, innovation, and grit that defines us as Michiganders. Watching the first doses of Pfizer’s safe, effective vaccine roll onto the trucks from its Kalamazoo facility last year filled everyone watching with a shared sense of pride in calling Michigan home.”

Governor Whitmer visits Pfizer-State of Mich Photo
Governor Whitmer visits Pfizer-State of Mich Photo

The governor’s office says that since December, the state of Michigan has administered 1,028,286 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, with the number of vaccines administered surpassing the number of recorded cases in the state.  The state says it plans to administer 50,000 vaccinations per day when there is an adequate supply of vaccine available to do so.

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