"Gary Glenn's facing a really nasty campaign, and again, this is paid for by the utilities -- specifically, Consumers -- (using) a group called 'Faithful Conservatives of Michigan,' whoever they are, and they're questioning his conservatism and running ads against him for a Senate race."
Frank Beckmann -- The Frank Beckman Show on WJR-AM, June 26, 2018
Glenn says ruling is major blow to utility monopolies' hopes of eliminating Electricity Choice market, and that MPSC's attempted abuse of authority would have cost public schools and manufacturers hundreds of millions in higher energy costs each year, taking money out of the classroom and making Michigan less competitive for new jobs
Lansing, Mich. — House Energy Policy Committee chairman Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Williams Twp., Friday welcomed a unanimous decision Thursday by a three-member panel of the state Court of Appeals slapping down the Michigan Public Service Commission's attempt to violate state and federal energy law and drive up electricity rates — already highest in the Midwest — for thousands of public schools and major employers. The move would have taken tens of millions of dollars out of the classroom each year, Glenn said, and made Michigan’s economy less competitive for new business, industry, and jobs.
The Court ruled 3-to-0 in Association of Businesses Advocating Tariff Equity (ABATE) vs. Michigan Public Service Commission, Consumers Energy et al that Michigan's newly-revised energy law "does not provide the MPSC the authority to impose a local clearing requirement on individual alternative electric suppliers."
ABATE is a group of major manufacturers whose combined electricity and gas bills exceed $1 billion a year in Michigan alone: its membership includes Dow Chemical Company, the largest employer in Glenn’s legislative district, for whom electricity is the single biggest cost of doing business, and nearby Hemlock Semiconductor, the largest consumer of electricity in Michigan. The group also includes General Motors, Marathon Petroleum, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and U.S. Steel.
“The Court rightly and unanimously rejected what was clearly a back door attempt by unelected bureaucrats to eliminate Michigan’s Electricity Choice program by bureaucratic regulation, reviving a protectionist scheme pushed by the state’s two monopoly utilities in the last legislative session but expressly rejected by the people’s elected representatives,” Glenn said. "Lawmakers next session, under a new governor, should eliminate Consumers' and DTE's government-privileged monopoly status monopoly altogether and return to a competitive free market system in which all customers are free to choose where they buy their electricity."
"The Court's ruling also validated the opinion of three deputy attorneys general assigned to the MPSC," Glenn said, "who had publicly warned commissioners not to impose the requirement because it would contradict federal rules and regulations, harm electrical reliability for some customers, and force cheaper electricity suppliers out of business, forcing their customers to buy from Consumers or DTE instead at higher cost. MPSC commissioners appeared so intent on serving the financial interests of monopoly utility bosses that they ignored the counsel of their own lawyers."
But judges Thursday unanimously agreed with Glenn's contention last summer that the Public Service Commission “has no legal authority to just make it up as they go along to serve the financial interests of the state’s two monopoly utilities, in direct violation of the plain language, spirit, and intent of state and federal law, and at the cost of hundreds of millions in higher electricity costs each year to Michigan schools and businesses.”
Glenn pointed to the MPSC order last summer that imposed a "local clearing requirement" that threatened to eventually require electricity choice providers who compete with the state’s two regional electricity monopolies — Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison — to prove they can supply their customers using only electricity that’s generated in Michigan.
The MPSC had issued a final order just last week in which it delayed imposing such a requirement, but asserted its authority and intention to eventually "phase in" such a requirement over time.
“That’s like passing a law telling Michigan families, businesses, and schools we can only buy food or products that are grown or made in Michigan, no matter how much higher the price may be out of our family or business or local school budgets,” Glenn said. “Our objective should be just the opposite — to save electricity users as much money as possible, and make Michigan as competitive for new business, industry, and jobs as possible, by providing customers the cheapest electricity possible, regardless of whether it comes from a wind farm in North Dakota or an oil well in Texas.”
The MPSC’s “local clearing requirement” had threatened to eventually force competing electricity providers to buy more expensive energy generated exclusively in Michigan -- in practical terms, meaning competitors to Consumers and DTE would have been forced to buy from Consumers and DTE at higher cost -- which in turn would have threatened tens of millions in higher costs each year to public schools alone.
For example, in a letter last summer to the PSC. the Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative said it "has saved Michigan schools over $140 million — or $35 per student per year — through the (Electricity Choice) program, dollars that are returned directly back into the classroom.”
The cooperative’s membership includes Michigan Association of Independent School Administrators, Michigan Association of School Administrators, Michigan Association of School Boards, Michigan School Business Officials, and Middle Cities Education Association.
“We are certain that the Commission understands that many of the original legislative drafts…included a ‘local clearing requirement’ (later eliminated from the legislation) that would require alternative electric suppliers (AESs) to buy all or mostly all of their capacity locally in Michigan,” wrote cooperative Secretary-Treasurer Raymond Telman. “As you know, that language would have effectively eliminated the Electric Choice program, as DTE and Consumers own or have purchased virtually all local capacity and could and would either refuse to sell to AESs or sell to AESs at an above market price.”
Glenn also cited a July 25, 2017 letter to the PSC by House Majority Whip Rep. Rob Verheulen, R-Walker, and Rep. Chris Afendoulis, R-Grand Rapids Twp., the primary sponsors of the compromise energy package approved by the Legislature in December 2016 and signed into law.
The legislation “deliberately removed this contentious (‘local clearing requirement’) language and in doing so, a compromise was reached,” Verheulen and Afendoulis wrote. “The final language clearly allows Alternative Energy Suppliers to use any resource allowed by (the Midwest’s federally-regulated regional electricity grid manager, Midcontinent Independent System Operator) to meet capacity obligations without reference to local resources.”
“We have strong concerns that the imposition by the Commission of any requirements on AESs in excess of those MISO requires…violates the legislative intent of (the new state energy law) and will place a significant additional burden on schools and businesses in our districts and all across Michigan,” they wrote. “It will also threaten the sustainability of the (Electricity Choice) program, the viability and continuation of which was a primary goal of the legislation.”
The proposed local generation requirement would have directly violated not only the new state energy law, but federal regulations as well, Glenn said, both of which expressly state — as Reps. Afendoulis and Verheulen referenced — that a competing electricity provider “can meet its capacity obligations through owned or contractual rights to any resource that the appropriate independent system operator allows to meet the capacity obligation of the electric provider.” MISO does not require competing energy suppliers that sell to Michigan customers to sell only electricity that’s generated in Michigan.
But the PSC ignored clear statements of legislative intent and state and federal law, declaring exactly the opposite of the legislative record and text: “The Commission found that a locational requirement is required under (the new state law) and that a locational requirement applicable to individual (competing energy suppliers) is allowed as part of the capacity obligations set forth by the Commission.”
If competing energy suppliers, eventually, are no longer allowed to sell cheaper electricity generated out of state and imported into Michigan, Kalamazoo Public Schools, as just one example, could be forced to spend $1 million more each year for electricity, taking that same amount out of the classroom, Glenn said.
Glenn said last summer that such a move would violate not only state and federal laws and regulations and give monopoly utilities the ability to squeeze their cheaper competitors out of business, but would constitute an unauthorized assumption of law-making power by Public Service Commissioners that simply does not exist in state law.
He cited at the time a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling in a 1993 lawsuit against the PSC by Midland Cogeneration Venture, the largest gas-fueled electricity and steam producing facility in North America, which is located in the legislative district Glenn represents.
The Court in 1993 had ruled that the PSC “possesses no common law powers but is a creature of the Legislature, and all of its authority must be conferred by clear and unmistakable language in specific statutory enactments, because doubtful power does not exist.” Midland Cogeneration Venture v. Public Service Commission, 199 Mich App 286, 295–96 (1993)
The Court of Appeals also ruled in 1999 that “where the Legislature has considered certain language and rejected it in favor of other language, the resulting statutory language should not be held to explicitly authorize what the Legislature explicitly rejected.” MCI Telecom Complaint, 460 Mich 396, 415 (1999).
The following major manufacturing organizations, among others, also sent letters last summer to the Public Service Commission sharing Glenn’s view that the PSC should not attempt to impose a local generation requirement for electricity sold in Michigan, a move they all said would be harmful to electricity users and Michigan’s economy:
* Association of Businesses Advocating Tariff Equity, a group of major manufacturers whose combined electricity and gas bills exceed $1 billion a year in Michigan alone: ABATE’s membership includes Dow Chemical Company, the largest employer in Glenn’s legislative district, for whom electricity is the single biggest cost of doing business, and nearby Hemlock Semiconductor, the largest consumer of electricity in Michigan. The group also includes General Motors, Marathon Petroleum, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and U.S. Steel.
* Michigan Chemistry Council, of which The Dow Chemical Company is also a member.
* The Michigan Chamber of Commerce.
* The Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce
* Spartan Stores
Watch Rep. Gary Glenn and Kevin Daley respond to questions at the Lapeer County Tea Party candidate debate:
Watch the debate at the Charis New Testament Church:
Watch the debate sponsored by the Bay County Republican Party:
One Consumers front group attacking Glenn is run by Jennifer Granholm's 2006 campaign manager
Discrepancies in Consumers financial reports may lead to formal complaints with IRS, SEC
Auburn, Mich. -- Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Williams Twp., Wednesday called on his Republican primary opponent, former Rep. Kevin Daley, R-Lum, to disavow and denounce a high-dollar "dark money" campaign by Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison executives using corporate funds collected from Michigan electricity customers to promote Daley's campaign and attack Glenn's record and character.
"I call on Kevin Daley and Patti Poppe to stop their sleazy smear campaign, the obvious purpose of which is to protect utility bosses' continued monopoly power over Michigan home owners and businesses," Glenn said, referring to his GOP opponent and to Consumers Energy's CEO. "If Kevin Daley has the moral courage to oppose Patti Poppe's big lie campaign on his behalf, run by Jennifer Granholm's campaign manager, he should say so publicly and denounce it."
Glenn, chairman of the House Energy Policy Committee, said he expects instead that "utility executives know from his silence that Kevin Daley won't threaten the monopoly scheme that lets Patti Poppe and her corporate cronies take tens of millions in excess profits from Michigan homeowners and businesses, hurting families and our economy, while utility executives cut deals with a left-wing California billionaire to drive electricity costs in Michigan even higher."
Glenn referenced a Wall Street Journal commentary Friday which accused Consumers Energy and DTE executives with bypassing state lawmakers and regulators to enter into an agreement with California billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, which the author, a staff member with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said will result in higher electricity costs in the state.
Glenn first earned utility executives' ire in 2016 when, as a freshman lawmaker, he successfully led the opposition to attempts by utility lobbyists to eliminate even the 10 percent of Michigan's electricity that can be purchased from less expensive competitors to Consumers and DTE. That existing "electricity choice" program, though capped at 10 percent, has saved public schools in Lapeer County over $2.2 million, over $1.8 million for Tuscola County schools, and over $560,000 for schools in Bay County.
Glenn noted that multiple utility "dark money" front groups -- all operating from the same law office at the same street address in a Lansing suburb -- have run ads attacking him.
One TV and radio ad -- paid for by "Citizens for Energizing Michigan's Economy," located at 2145 Commons Parkway, Okemos -- accuses Glenn of "outsourcing Michigan electric jobs" because he favors allowing all electricity customers to choose where they buy their electricity, rather than being forced by Michigan's now near-total monopoly system to buy from Consumers and DTE at higher cost. CEME's president is Howard Edelson, former director of government affairs for Consumers Energy and 2006 campaign manager for former Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
Because the ads don't expressly say "vote for" Daley, they can legally be paid for by corporate money taken from monopoly utilities' state-guaranteed annual 10 percent profit, which they earn on the hundreds of millions of dollars they collect each year from the state's electricity customers.
According to Crain's Business Detroit, Consumers Energy alone has contributed $2,500 directly to Daley's campaign, but has also contributed -- according to Consumers' formal filings with the Michigan Public Service Commission -- over $43 million since 2014 to the "Citizens for Energizing Michigan's Economy" front group, run by Edelson, that's running attack ads against Glenn.
According to multiple media reports, the numbers in Consumers Energy's filings with the MPSC and its filings with the IRS over the same time period don't match, which Glenn said may lead to formal complaints against Consumers with the IRS and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"Matt Kasper of the Energy and Policy Institute found that the lobbying group failed to disclose all of the money to the IRS. But he says it's clear what a lot of it's being used for: to help elect opponents of two legislators that Consumers wants out of office -- Gary Glenn and Tom Barrett," Michigan Radio reported.
The Energy and Policy Institute also reported: "CEME, a 501c4 organization, reports in its annual filings with the Internal Revenue Service for the years 2014, 2015, and 2016 that is has received only $8.5 million in revenue. Consumers Energy contributed a total of $23.5 during those years, which suggests that at least $15 million has not been reported to the IRS by the 501c4 organization, and needs to be explained."
Glenn pointed to a second Consumers Energy "dark money" group -- so-called "Faithful Conservatives for Michigan," also located at 2145 Commons Parkway, Okemos. The Energy and Policy Institute reported that "Faithful Conservatives for Michigan, which is also promoting the opponents of Reps. Glenn and (Tom) Barrett, is registered at Citizens for Energizing Michigan's Economy' address and was incorporated by the same person who registered CEME."
"Faithful Conservatives," which for over a month ran ads touting the importance of "Kevin Daley's farm," is now running attack ads repeating an accusation, discredited fifteen years ago when it was made, that Glenn had tried to bribe an elected official in Idaho. Click here for the mailing.
Former Idaho Attorney General and Lt. Gov. David H. Leroy, also a former county prosecutor, wrote in a June 14, 2018 letter in response to the Consumers-financed resurrection of the false allegation:
"I was involved as private legal counsel in the discussions and inquiry into the unfounded accusations now again improperly leveled against Rep. Gary Glenn. They proved baseless nearly fifteen years ago. The concern arose from his political support of Idaho's term limits law. The inquiring authorities found all allegations to be without factual support and no proceedings, civil or criminal, were ever filed related to the incident. According to Rep. Glenn, the individual who made the baseless accusations even later apologized to him for authoring those contentions."
"I have known Gary Glenn for nearly four decades," Leroy wrote, "and have found him to be a man of high character motivated by deeply held convictions and principle. ...I trust that his competence, intellect, energy and commitment to good governance are evident to the voters of Michigan."
Glenn said Daley's conscience should compel him to disavow the false statements being made to benefit his campaign.
"The false allegations paid for by corporate funds from Consumers and DTE are serious and malicious. They repeat a long ago-discredited false accusation of a serious crime, and do so with the undeniable intention of affecting the result of the election in Mr. Daley's favor," Glenn said. "As a Christian, Kevin Daley should be ashamed, and he should speak out against monopoly utility bosses bearing false witness on his behalf, who went so far in one mailing as using a picture of the Bible and a Bible verse to give cover to their sleazy smear campaign. Then he should apologize for standing by silent to this point while his campaign benefited from such sleazy smears."
Glenn noted that even Consumers Energy's own shareholders are growing increasingly uncomfortable with company executives' use of corporate funds for politically-related expenditures. At Consumers' annual shareholders meeting in May, a resolution requiring the company to fully disclose all its corporate political spending received 45 percent of shareholders' votes despite opposition to the resolution by Consumers' board of directors.
The Energy and Policy Institute reported: "Consumers Energy nearly faced a shareholder revolt over its political spending at its May 2018 shareholder meeting, and that was before the full extent of its funding of CEME was first reported. A shareholder resolution nearly passed with 45% support that would have required Consumers Energy to make public all of its expenditures made to influence the public. The same resolution received 36% support in 2017. Each year the board of directors recommended their shareholders reject the proposal."
Lapeer, Mich. -- Two lawmakers who formerly represented Lapeer County in the state legislature in Lansing have endorsed state Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Williams Twp., in the Republican primary election for the state Senate seat comprised of Bay, Lapeer, and Tuscola counties.
Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Twp., said in an endorsement statement Monday that "there is one candidate on the ballot who will always put his constituents above the Lansing power brokers, regardless of the political cost. That man is Rep. Gary Glenn."
"Gary has spent a lifetime fighting for conservative principals and the policies that define liberty and freedom for all," Pavlov wrote. "He helped lead the charge and build the coalition that resulted in Michigan becoming a Right to Work state. He continues to fight for lower energy bills for each and every family, business and farm in our state. He is working to repeal the Common Core State Standards that are having a devastating effect on our students and parents."
"These are long and difficult political battles that need to fought and won," Pavlov wrote. "Gary knows first hand just how difficult it can be when putting people ahead of the Lansing insiders, but he’ll gladly pay the price to ensure that the people of Michigan’s 31st Senate District have their voices heard at the state Capitol."
Pavlov, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, represented Lapeer County from 2011 to 2014 in the state Senate before district lines were redrawn following the 2010 census.
Pavlov joins former state Rep. John Stahl, R-North Branch, who represented Lapeer County in the state House of Representatives from 2002 to 2008, in endorsing Glenn's campaign.
"Gary has represented the voice of the people while not being dictated by special interests," Stahl wrote in an endorsement statement. "For example, Gary championed preserving the Electricity Choice Program that has already saved the schools of Lapeer County over $2.2. million. The money saved from this program can now be kept in the classroom to encourage the best possible education for each child."
"Gary has continually sought to cut taxes and make our tax dollars go further while remaining fiscally responsible. Actions such as these helped Gary to receive the Most Conservative Legislator of the Year Award," Stahl wrote. "He is also a faith-based person who shares our values of strong family, marriage and morals which he was able to represent as president of the Michigan chapter of the American Family Association."
Pavlov and Stahl join current state Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, and former state Sen. Joel Gougeon, R-Bay City, in supporting Glenn's candidacy. In Lapeer County, Lapeer City Commissioner A. Wayne Bennett, Deerfield Twp. Trustee Marc Stover, and North Branch School Board Trustee Brenden Miller have also endorsed Glenn's candidacy.
Glenn has also been endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan and is the only Republican candidate endorsed by Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan, County Road Association of Michigan, and the Michigan Freedom Fund.
Glenn faces former state Rep. Kevin Daley, R-Lum, in the Aug. 7th Republican primary. Daley's campaign is benefiting from an estimated $1 million independent expenditure campaign against Glenn by "dark money" front groups funded by Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison, who are unhappy with Glenn's opposition to the state's current electricity monopoly system.
Glenn strong on the 2nd Amendment: Endorsed by the NRA in 2016, rated A+, Daley not endorsed in 2014
June 19, 2018
Tuscola County Advertiser
By Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Williams Twp.
Chairman, House Energy Policy Committee
When the campaign began for the state Senate seat representing Bay, Lapeer, and Tuscola counties, I was honored to receive Sen. Mike Green’s support and thought there’d be three major issues:
- My opposition to the retiree pension tax, and Rep. Daley’s vote in favor of that tax.
- My leadership in the campaign against Proposal 1, the $2 billion roads tax increase rejected by 85 percent of voters in May 2015, and Daley’s vote and public comments in favor of that tax.
- My A+ grade and endorsement by the National Rifle Association in 2016, and the B-minus Daley received from NRA, without endorsement, when he ran against Sen. Green.
A new issue has emerged that’s maybe more important: is our state Senate seat for sale to monopoly utility bosses?
All those ads praising Daley or attacking me are paid for by Consumers Energy and/or DTE using corporate funds they take from our electricity bills to finance multiple “dark money” front groups located at the same street address near Lansing.
I serve as chairman of the House Energy Policy Committee. During my first term, monopoly utility bosses tried to eliminate the Electricity Choice program that allows a scant 10 percent of the electricity generated in Michigan to be bought from providers other than Consumers or DTE, who get the remaining 90 percent of the electricity market in their service areas by law, meaning most people are forced to buy from them at higher cost.
But 90 percent wasn’t enough. They demanded 100 percent, and I led the fight that stopped them.
What were the stakes?
Public schools alone have saved tens of millions of dollars under the Electricity Choice program – over $560,000 in Bay County, $1.5 million in Tuscola County, and $2.2 million in Lapeer County.
Those savings would have ended had I rolled over to monopoly utility bosses. Instead, I led the opposition. If elected to the state Senate, I’ll continue to lead.
That’s why they’ve spent $500,000 so far – money they take from our electricity bills – on ads propping up Daley’s campaign or falsely attacking me.
Under our current monopoly system, Consumers and DTE are also guaranteed a 10 percent annual profit by law, meaning they have tens of millions of dollars to spend trying to handpick and elect legislators who won’t threaten their monopoly control over electricity customers.
According to Crain’s Business Detroit, Consumers Energy’s PAC admitted it gave $2,500 to Kevin Daley’s campaign, but Consumers also gave $43.5 million since 2014 to “Citizens for Energizing Michigan’s Economy” – a “dark money” front group run from a law office at 2145 Commons Parkway, Okemos – which ran ads opposing Electricity Choice and is now running ads attacking me for supporting Electricity Choice, which they falsely characterize as “outsourcing” Michigan jobs.
Utility bosses are funding another “dark money” front group, the so-called “Faithful Conservatives for Michigan,” also located at 2145 Commons Parkway. Its deceptive ads don’t mention energy, instead promoting Kevin Daley or falsely attacking me.
Notably, two other “dark money” front groups operated out of that same street address: “Save Michigan Roads,” which promoted the massive Proposal 1 roads tax that Daley supported, and “Michigan’s Voice,” which attacked Rep. Gary Howell’s campaign in 2016.
Because these most recent ads don’t expressly say “vote for” Daley, they’re legally paid for with corporate funds, the money that monopoly utility bosses take from our ever-rising electricity bills. And you wondered why your electricity bill went up this past winter.
I believe all electricity customers should be free to choose where we buy electricity, and that customer choice and competition will bring down prices for all of us.
Utility bosses don’t like that, since it threatens their big take. And they’re spending big bucks because, based on my track record, they’re afraid I might get it done.
Obviously, they’d prefer a state senator instead they know won’t threaten their monopoly.
When the smoke clears, the choice really is this clear: Kevin Daley and big money from utility bosses scheming to protect their monopoly power, or Gary Glenn and big savings for our public schools, savings I’ll keep working to extend to all electricity customers. I’d appreciate your vote Aug. 7th.
Lawmaker joins elite group of only six honorees in 25 years
MIDLAND, Mich. -- Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Williams Twp., is the first elected official and one of only six recipients over the last 25 years to be named a "Champion of Free Enterprise" by the Greater Michigan chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, headquartered in Midland.
Rep. Gary Glenn points to a plaque featuring the six individuals -- including himself -- who over the last quarter-century have been named "Champions of Free Enterprise" by the Greater Michigan chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors.
Glenn Monday said he "has been honored to stand with the Associated Builders and Contractors for the last four decades in promoting the principles of free enterprise and competition that create jobs, grow our economy, and give society the best products and services at the best price."
Jimmy Greene, president and CEO of the contractors' organization, said "since the organization was formed in 1977, we have championed free enterprise and acknowledged those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to furthering that principle."
"In that time, we have previously awarded this honor to only five individuals," Greene said. "This year, based on his continued and outstanding advocacy of eliminating the state of Michigan’s 'prevailing wage' law, we have overwhelmingly supported naming our sixth recipient, state Rep. Gary Glenn."
Glenn two weeks ago was the lead speaker during floor debate in the state House of Representatives in favor of legislation to repeal the state "prevailing wage" law, which required that union scale wages and benefits be paid on all government construction projects including schools, other government buildings, and state roadways. The half century old state mandate is estimated to have added 20 percent or more to the cost to taxpayers of such projects.
The five individuals who preceded Glenn in the distinction include:
* Three prominent members and/or founders of the Greater Michigan chapter of ABC -- Jim Johnson of J.E. Johnson Co., Gary Elza of G.E. Insulation Co., and Brian Stadler of Wolgast Corp.
* Two prominent executives of The Dow Chemical Company -- former Michigan Operations Manager Rich Wells, and outgoing CEO Andrew Liveris.
"It is humbling to be listed among such a distinguished group of men who've made such dramatically positive contributions to the economic success of our communities in mid-Michigan," Glenn said.
On the House floor, Rep. Gary Glenn led the successful repeal of Michigan's so-called "prevailing wage" law, a government price-fixing scheme that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more on government construction projects such as public roads and schools.