Audit reveals fund reported false job-creation data

LANSING (AP) -- The Michigan Strategic Fund overstated job-creation data by companies that have received grants through government incentive programs, according to a state audit released Tuesday.

Companies getting grants under the 21st Century Job Trust Fund's Centers of Energy Excellence Program met 19 percent of original employment projections, the report from Auditor General said. The Strategic Fund told the Legislature the companies created 75 percent of the jobs promised.

The fund administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. used self-reported data. The report said officials should have provided lawmakers with updated information and verified employment numbers.

The program distributed about $64 million to 12 companies as of March 31.

"We want to make sure we get our numbers right, so if there's an issue we'll look into it quickly, get it corrected," Gov. Rick Snyder told "Because we've been very careful about most of our jobs numbers, in fact, one illustration is we got out of the business of the indirect jobs and really focused on direct jobs. So that's something I need to do some follow-up on."

Development agency chief executive Michael Finney called the errors an "oversight."

"MEDC is committed to transparency and takes very seriously our responsibility to keep citizens informed about programs and incentives supported by their tax dollars," said Finney.

The Strategic Fund said it will "take steps to consistently report accurate program information," the Detroit Free Press reported.

Published: Thu, Sep 26, 2013