by Scott McClallen


Michigan taxpayers will give more than $16 million to a private manufacturing company, Gentex. The company is spending $300 million to expand operations over three years, which it claims will create 500 jobs.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to announce the subsidies to Gentex, a high-tech electronics manufacturer for the auto, aerospace, and fire safety industries.

“Gentex’s $300 million investment creating 500 good-paying jobs will grow Michigan’s economy and help us continue leading the future of mobility and electrification,” Whitmer said in a statement. “We can attract bold investments from cutting-edge firms like Gentex because of our bipartisan collaboration on economic development legislation last year, which has already led to billions of dollars in investment in Michigan and thousands of jobs.”

Gentex plans to construct a new high-tech manufacturing facility and distribution center in Zeeland Charter Township and expand its manufacturing facility in the city of Zeeland.

The projects aim to increase the capacity of its glass processing, making auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, displays, and electronics for automotive and aerospace applications.

The Michigan Strategic Fund on Tuesday approved the following to fund the project.

  • A $5.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.
  • A $1.89 million Jobs Ready Michigan grant.
  • A 15-year, total State Essential Services Assessment exemption valued at $3.8 million.

Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board, said the subsidy is paving the way to “winning” the future of EV manufacturing.

“Time and time again, Team Michigan continues to demonstrate its commitment to winning the future of mobility and EV manufacturing here in Michigan,” Messer said in a statement. “We recognize the landscape is fiercely competitive for these projects, and trust and believe, Michigan is clearly up to the challenge – and together, we will win, with our rich manufacturing legacy, highly skilled workforce, and globally connected location.”

This follows the state of Michigan heavily subsidizing electric vehicles, including

  • $130 million for new EV training and research center.
  • $16 million for the Charge Up MI program to install 276 EV chargers.
  • A wireless charging road in Detroit.
  • $126 million for the Central Innovation District.
  • $189 million subsidy for an EV battery plant.

Michigan Secretary of State currently shows 6.5 million vehicles with internal combustion engines registered in the state, compared to 20,189 EV registrations, and 12,218 plug-in hybrid EV registrations.

Zeeland Charter Township and Zeeland anticipate approving property tax abatements for the project. The MEDC also authorized a State Education Tax abatement.

The announcement follows reporting yesterday that General Motors will build new electric-vehicle battery facilities in Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee with assistance from a $2.5 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The low-cost loan was reported by Reuters, which reported GM and LG Energy Solution will partner on a joint program, Ultium Cells LLC, to build the three lithium-ion EV battery manufacturing plants. The money will come from the DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program.

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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on and Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Gentex” by Gentex