State Assembly approves Foxconn incentives package


The State Assembly passed a $3 billion incentives Package to bring Foxconn to the state Thursday.

The Assembly's debate on the bill lasted seven hours, with Democrats arguing the bill should have been sent to the joint finance committee first.

The Assembly passed the measure on a 59-30 vote, with three Democrats joining 56 majority Republicans in support. Twenty-eight Democrats and two Republicans voted against it.

“Instead of focusing on getting a budget done, so that roads cans be constructed so that schools can start with the supplies they need instead we’re here today prematurely," Democratic State Rep. Peter Barca told the full Assembly.

Democrats argued the incentives bill was moving too fast.

“I think the biggest problem with it is all of the risk is with the taxpayers of Wisconsin," explained State Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh.

Hintz explained he still has a few concerns.

"It’s incredibly expensive those dollars come at the expense of our public schools and universities so as we look into future years we’re going to be cutting opportunity in exchange for something that may not even employ as many people as they are claiming," he said.

Last month, Foxconn said it would invest $10 billion in the state and eventually create 13,000 jobs in return for $3 billion in tax breaks.

According to the state’s non-partisan legislative fiscal bureau, taxpayers wouldn’t break even on the investment for 25 years.

“It’s a good deal for the taxpayers, it’s no different than we’ve done economic development in Wisconsin for other companies and yes it is transformational and once in a while I think it’s worth it for us to take that big leap," said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester.

Republicans say bringing the tech-company to the state wouldn’t only benefit southeastern Wisconsin.

“The truth is people, and businesses throughout the state are going to benefit from this project," added State. Rep. Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna.

The bill is now in the hands of the Senate.

“What passes out of the Assembly will not be what passes out and gets signed by the Governor," said Sen. Roger Roth, R-Appleton.

Senate President Roger Roth explained he's sending it straight to the Joint Finance Committee.

"I don’t think there’s another committee in the legislature that is fit to hear a bill like this. The complexities involved with it, you have TIF Districts, you’ve got incentives coming from the state, you have changes to road funding."

Hintz says as a member of Joint Finance he hopes the committee can do more vetting.

"Look, if we go forward with Foxconn I hope it works outs and all the promises come true and that there’s opportunities, but there are lot an awful lot of red flags out there," said Hintz.

An exact location for Foxconn has not been announced.