In a big move for the state of Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker signed legislation on Monday approving the Foxconn $3 billion incentive package previously drawn up by the state. This new factory will primarily build flat-screens for smartphones and will be located in Southeastern Wisconsin and is set to create thousands of new manufacturing jobs for the state.
The bill was signed at a ceremony at Gateway Technical College in Racine County, where the plant will be located. During the ceremony, Governor Walker stated “This is about far into the future,” – “This is about ensuring our children and our children’s children will have those kind, of really, generational-type opportunities. This is one of those things that’s transformational.” (http://bit.ly/2w5cpaF)
Speaking to reporters the governor detailed the next steps for the bill, which will involve the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to finalize a contract with Foxconn to execute the arrangements set by the bill. The board for WEDC will be meeting on September 28th to approve the agreement. Executives at Foxconn will then likely reveal the exact location for the factory right before the contract is signed in early October.
The Governor then spoke to local radio program WTMJ-AM on Monday morning where he explained that groundbreaking should occur this upcoming spring. Foxconn did not send a representative for the event at Gateway Technical College or the radio interview but Walker said the company’s leaders are planned to visit Wisconsin for the signing of the contract.
The bill itself provides nearly $3 billion to Foxconn if the company invests $10 billion in the new factory and hires 13,000 people. The new measures also ensure $150 million in sales tax exemptions on construction equipment and allows the company to build in previously restricted wetlands and waterways. Rebuilding Interstate 94 was another big section of the bill with $252 million being borrowed for the project but makes the money contingent on a federal match.
Supporters of the bill say this once in a lifetime deal is a huge win for the state of Wisconsin and could put them on the map as the hub for high-tech electronics manufacturing. On the other hand, opponents say that the deal is a giveaway to Foxconn and that there are no guarantees to protect taxpayers if the company were to leave the state. The nonpartisan Legislative Bureau offered their own analysis stating that it would take Wisconsin taxpayers 25 years to break even on the incentives. Manufacturing Talk Radio will be continuing our close watch on this story so be sure to check back soon for more information.