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Appeals court: State can keep a lid on tax credit details

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General Motors

The Michigan Court of Appeals has rejected an effort to cast light on significant state tax credits granted to General Motors by the state.

Detroit activist David Sole “presented forceful arguments” about the public importance of the information, but “we are constrained to follow the law,” the appeals court said in a 3-0 opinion last week.

The court said state law allows the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to withhold certain information about tax credits when presented with a public records request.

Some information was publicly released in January in an unrelated action while the appeal was pending. The value of GM’s maximum credit was cut by $325 million to approximately $2.28 billion through 2029, and will be capped annually at an unspecified amount, officials said.

In return, the company must meet certain job targets.

Sole’s attorney, Jerome Goldberg, said a favorable opinion from the appeals court could have opened the door to learning about tax credits extended to other businesses.

“People have a right to know about it. That’s why we think it’s important,” Goldberg said.