As you probably know, Governor Walker recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Taiwanese manufacturer, Foxconn, which would create a manufacturing center in southeastern Wisconsin. But the devil is always in the details.
While Foxconn has promised to hire 3,000 employees at a minimum, the state is on the hook for at least $3 billion, which equates to around $1 million in taxpayer assistance per job created. Already, because of the manufacturing and agricultural tax credit, which will cost $650 million over the next two years, this corporation will likely have no state income tax liability. That means any additional tax “credit” will be cash payments to the corporation, which is what results in the $3 billion worth of payments. A Foxconn study concluded that the state could pay out as much as $74 million a year more in state assistance than it would collect in new tax revenue from the project.
There are no provisions in the agreement which require Foxconn to employ Wisconsin workers or that prohibits Foxconn from outsourcing jobs. Experts have concluded Foxconn will most likely have to hire employees from other states to fit their employment needs given the current state of Wisconsin’s workforce, which means Wisconsin taxpayers will likely be paying a foreign corporation to hire out of state workers.
Other concerns regarding the GOP’s proposal include eliminating the environmental impact statement for the new plant and eliminating other protections aimed at wetlands, clean water and air protections and preventing dumping of waste. This could lead to even greater costs for Wisconsin taxpayers.
WEDC will be handling all the loans/incentives with Foxconn, which is equally concerning given just two years ago legislative Republicans had so many concerns about this agency they curtailed WEDC’s ability to issue $60+ million in business loans due to severe financial mismanagement. Furthermore, this is the same agency that when notified of Oscar Mayer’s interest in leaving Wisconsin, failed to raise a finger to stop it and allowed 1,000 Madison jobs to walk out of Wisconsin.
The bill can be found HERE. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau policy analysis can be found HERE.
All of these factors give me grave concerns about this proposal. But I want to hear from you! Please let me know your thoughts about this proposal by emailing me, writing or calling my office.
I will also be having listening session next Tuesday, August 8th from 7:00-8:30 p.m. on this topic at the Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa Street in Madison. I would love to see you there and hear your thoughts!
This bill is also moving quickly through the Assembly, and is scheduled for a public hearing TOMORROW, Thursday August 3rd at 1:30 PM in Room 412 East. Please come and share your opinions on the Foxconn proposal, either by registering your opinion on the bill or speaking on the bill. Public input is crucial and I hope you will consider attending.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns about this topic.
Rep. Chris Taylor
76th Assembly District