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Whitmer, Dixon divided on tax breaks, school funding at Detroit Economic Club

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Michigan’s economy was on the agenda as two of the state’s gubernatorial candidates made their pitch to the Detroit Economic Club on Friday.

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer said the tax incentive deals she’s brokered with Republicans in the Legislature are drawing jobs to the state.

"When we think about how do we secure our economic future, it is building batteries. Where batteries are built the rest of the EV will have to be assembled as well,” she said.

But Republican challenger Tudor Dixon criticized the bipartisan tax incentives given to the Gotion battery company.

“It's owned by a Chinese company instead of our own investors that are right here in the state of Michigan,” Dixon said.

Officials claim the Gotion battery plant planned for the Big Rapids area will create 2,300 new jobs.

Dixon also said taxpayer money for schools should go to public and private schools.

“I want to make sure that we're funding our students instead of our systems; make sure that dollars are following the child,” Dixon said.

Whitmer said it was important to close the public school funding gap between districts.

“Now, four governors before me tried to do it. We got it done in the last couple of years. That's equality. Equity is putting more resources into kids who are at risk or special needs or English language learners," Whitmer said.

This event kept the candidates separate, but Dixon and Whitmer will have a chance to address each other — as well as voters — during a debate at Oakland University on Tuesday.

Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners.
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