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As I See It

Foxconn’s call for “flexibility” probably not a good sign

Scott Robert Shaw

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What does flexibility mean? We don’t know yet what that means to the Foxconn Technology Group, but leaders of the company working to open a huge plant in Wisconsin say that is what they want in their contract with the state. Leaders of the Taiwanese company inked a deal with the state that would allow them to receive up to $4 billion in state and local tax credits if they open the big plant they promised, and employ all those people they said they would. But their plans have seemingly changed by the minute, while the state contract outlining their plans has not. Governor Evers says it was Foxconn which approached him about amending the contract. That didn’t stop some legislative leaders from criticizing Evers for daring to suggest that the contract be rewritten. Speaker Robin Vos even accused Evers of trying to undermine the Foxconn deal. He should apologize to the Governor, now that we know it was Foxconn’s idea, not Evers’, who is asking for some changes. We don’t know what they want. It is not clear they know what they want. They have already said the plant won’t be as big as first planned, and won’t manufacture what they said they would. There has even been talk it won’t be a plant at all, but rather a research hub. That is exactly why both sides need to get together to rewrite the contract. But when Foxconn says it wants “flexibility” we can be sure that doesn’t mean they plan to create more jobs than first planned. It likely means fewer jobs, and perhaps other changes. The state needs to find out, and ensure the contract matches the new reality.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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