An Assembly Committee approved a package of incentives on Monday that are tailored to help convince the Taiwanese electronics Manufacturer, Foxconn, to build its first U.S. factory in Wisconsin. The Republican controlled Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy voted 8 to 5 along party lines to proceed with Gov. Scott Walker’s bill that will provide Foxconn with almost $3 billion in tax credits. The bill also exempts the company from various environmental regulations and it uses $20 million in state funds to ensure the state’s workforce is qualified to cover the 13,000 jobs being created with job training.
The full Assembly is scheduled to cast their vote on Thursday. Currently, it is reported that Republicans rejected almost two dozen Democratic amendments. One major rejection was ensuring that 70 percent of the proposed plant’s workers would be residents from the state. The amendment also proposed that contractors from Wisconsin worked on building the site itself.
Speaking on the matter Ohnstad said “I’ve certainly had a lot of constituents that have expressed concerns about the environmental clauses, that express concerns about the price tag and express concerns that this might not be the best thing for Kenosha and Racine,” He continued “But once again, I want to express that people are very, very excited about the possibility of thousands of jobs.” http://bit.ly/2wN5X95
All hope is not lost on many of the amendments that benefit the citizens of Wisconsin. According to the committee, they have implemented some of the changes that the Democrats wanted. This includes asking state officials working on the final contract to add a goal of hiring Wisconsin based employees and making sure enough workers in the state are able to be employed at a livable wage.
The amendments also call for providing the Department of Workforce Development with $20 million for job training after 2019. This would require the state’s job agency to give tax credits to jobs that have a minimum $30,000 salary. It also allows tax incremental financing funds to be used for fire, police and various other government services. Lawmakers working for the state would also like the state officials negotiating the final contract with Foxconn to emphasize that workers living in the state should be given hiring preference. But, one Assembly Speaker has acknowledged that forcing preference could potentially be illegal.
To mitigate environmental damage lawmakers also want a clause stating that if a wetland must be filled during construction then two more must be made in its place, in the same area if possible.
Many changes are still expected for the bill as it still needs to pass through various committees and officials before it is completed and put into action. Many lawmakers and members of the Senate have shown support for this bill but they all agree that it should not be rushed due to its complex nature.
Once passed, this bill will create many jobs for Wisconsin and hopefully, it doesn’t fall into bureaucratic limbo. It is concerning that there is no guarantee that residents of the state will have hiring preference but the sheer number of jobs being created can not be ignored. Manufacturing Talk Radio will be keeping a close eye on this bill so be sure to check back here more information concerning the U.S. Foxconn factory.