The Michigan Legislature will earmark $200 million from a total budget of about $1 billion for a paper mill in the Upper Peninsula, while also increasing funding for the state’s economic development fund.
The legislation, which was passed late Thursday night by the new Democratic-controlled Legislature, includes a $946 million spending plan and an additional $146 million to close out last year’s budget, totaling nearly $1.1 billion in spending.
The Escanaba Mill, located in the Upper Peninsula and operated by Swedish paper producer Billerud, will receive nearly $200 million in grant funding. The company intends to start producing a more technologically advanced paper product that will be used as packaging for pharmaceuticals and healthcare, cosmetics, and beverages.
The Escanaba Mill funding comes after the Michigan Strategic Fund approved a 15-year tax break last month to support Billerud’s planned project at the paper mill, which is expected to bring in nearly $1 billion in investments and retain at least 1,240 jobs in the region.
Rep. Jenn Hill of Marquette called the paper mill project a “generational investment” and said that after the Lower Peninsula received multiple economic development projects last year, it was time for the Upper Peninsula “to have a turn.”