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Wisconsin agency leaders working on problems in Foxconn deal



Issue called “a nuclear bomb” that would
result in deal that doesn’t protect taxpayers. 

MADISON, Wis. — Leaders of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s job creation agency have delayed a vote on a contract with Foxconn Technology Group while they deal with a problem in the language.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) board met in closed session Tuesday to discuss a contract implementing a $3 billion state incentives package for a massive Foxconn flat-screen plant in Mount Pleasant. The board took no action.

State Sen. Tim Carpenter, a Milwaukee Democrat who sits on the board, said the agency discovered an unspecified problem in the language, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. He declined to elaborate but called the issue “a nuclear bomb” that would result in a deal that doesn’t protect taxpayers.

Madison.com reports Foxconn has pledged to invest $10 billion and create up to 13,000 jobs at a new LCD manufacturing facility in Mount Pleasant in Racine County. In return the state plans to give the company $2.85 billion in refundable tax credits for jobs and for the construction of the campus. The company would be exempt from another $150 million in sales taxes, be eligible for lower utility rates and be exempt from some environmental regulations. The state won’t break even on the investment until 2043.

Foxconn also stands to receive a $100 million incentive as part of a $764 million tax incremental financing district for infrastructure improvements offered by local officials in Racine County.

State Rep. Chris Taylor wrote on Facebook, “The problem is that the GOP rushed this through the legislature before we thoroughly understood the economic and environmental impacts this company would have on our state. The Foxconn deal was a desperate attempt by Gov. Walker to make it look like he created all those jobs he promised.

“Gov. Walker and Foxconn are full of empty promises. We need to invest in education and hardworking Wisconsinites to create a skilled workforce that can fill the jobs we already have. We should not be investing in unreliable, unaccountable foreign corporations.”

WEDC CEO Mark Hogan says the earliest the board could vote would be at its November meeting.

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