Foxconn gamble shrouded in secrecy
Democrats urge transparency in Foxconn deal
MADISON, WI – Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee sent a letter requesting Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary (WEDC) Mark Hogan submit the pending Foxconn contract to the budget committee for approval. After years of corruption and mismanagement at the WEDC, Democrats have serious concerns that the troubled jobs agency isn’t acting in the best interest for Wisconsin taxpayers. The proposal is the largest state taxpayer giveaway to a foreign corporation in U.S. history and taxpayers could be liable for more than $3 billion.
“Gov. Walker and Legislative Republicans are committing state taxpayers to $3 billion in corporate subsidies while taking money away from classrooms, roads and health care for decades,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “The lack of transparency throughout this process shows there is a higher risk to taxpayers and communities than Gov. Walker and Republican lawmakers are willing to admit. Given Foxconn’s concerning track record, we need more openness and transparency from Gov. Walker’s administration before committing families to years of economic costs and liabilities.”
With the high unpredictability in the electronics industry, workforce shortage issues and the company’s stated desire to automate its manufacturing operation, it is unclear how many of the promised jobs will materialize. Numerous media outlets have highlighted a pattern of Foxconn’s broken promises on economic development. The Washington Post detailed a series of “splashy jobs announcements” from Foxconn that promised thousands of jobs and billions in investments that never quite materialized in Pennsylvania, Indonesia, India, Vietnam and Brazil.