On Thursday, the U.S. Senate confirmed former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as Energy Secretary with a final vote of 64-35.
Granholm served two terms as the first female governor of Michigan. She was first elected in 2002.
Granholm supporters tout her “green-energy” focus, but others point to her history of heavy spending of taxpayer money on projects that didn’t pan out.
In 2007, Granholm signed “the biggest tax increase in Michigan history”, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board noted, with most of the $1.4 billion coming from business taxes.
Granholm argued new taxes would raise some $1.3 billion in new revenue to “invest” in new businesses.
Leon Drolet, the head of the Michigan Taxpayer’s Alliance, said Granholm’s confirmation is bad news for taxpayers nationwide if she continues her track record in Michigan.
“Jennifer Granholm has no professional experience in energy,” Drolet said in a phone interview with The Center Square. “When she was the governor of Michigan, her decisions on energy issues were ideological, not pragmatic.”
For example, Drolet referenced the 21st-Century Jobs Fund, which Granholm said would invigorate Michigan-based companies.
Despite electric vehicle battery manufacturer A123 Systems receiving at least $10 million in state funds and nearly $140 million in federal funding, the business declared bankruptcy in 2012, reneging on its promise to provide thousands of jobs.
A study from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy found the cost per job created by the 21st Century Jobs fund ranged between $274,800 and $330,600.
“The decision where to place those funds weren’t made on economic grounds,” Drolet said. “They were made on ideological grounds and the results were predictably disastrous.”
“Now we’re paying those debts, money that could be fixing roads right now, is instead going to pay back the money we borrowed to invest in failed “investments’”, Drolet said.
Drolet argued Granholm will continue to pick winning and losing companies based on her ideology instead of weighing their economic return, which will bring a “very skewed market.”
“It proved to be a disaster in Michigan, and I fear it’s going to be a disaster for the country,” Drolet said. “Nobody looks back at the Granholm era here in Michigan and says, ‘Wow, did we get a lot done in regard to energy.’ Energy costs didn’t go down. Instead, misinvestments were made that cost us millions of dollars and resulted in no energy, in many cases, with these companies going belly-up.”
Granholm will oversee a $40 billion program that offers loans to jump-start large-scale energy infrastructure projects.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer welcomed the appointment.
“Our former Governor will be a visionary leader at the Department of Energy and continue her passionate, decades-long advocacy for clean energy,” the governor said. “She is also breaking barriers once again, as only the second woman to serve as Secretary of Energy after two terms as Michigan’s first female Governor. President Biden’s Cabinet is shaping up to the most diverse in our nation’s history, providing women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ a presence in the rooms where decisions are made.”
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