Wisconsin’s Republican controlled state assembly voted 59-30 on a bill that makes way for $3 billion dollars to go towards a package for a proposed liquid crystal display plant by Foxconn of Taiwan. The plan still needs to be approved by the joint finance committee, which has members from both the Assembly and the state Senate, before it can go to the state’s governor, former Republican primary presidential candidate Scott Walker. The finance committee and the Senate are also controlled by Republicans.
Foxconn, formerly known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, is a major supplier for Apple’s iPhones, and hopes to open a $10 billion plant in 2020 at a 1,000-acre site in southeastern Wisconsin. This could supply upwards of three thousand jobs to start, with the possibility of the plant leading to nearly thirteen thousand jobs for the state. Additionally, it could create an additional twenty-two thousand ancillary jobs, and nearly ten thousand construction jobs. For those of you keeping count, there’s the potential Foxconn could create nearly forty-five thousand jobs for the dairy state.
Wisconsin’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, ordered the legislature into special session on August 1 to consider the package, which would award Foxconn $3 billion over 15 years in mostly cash incentives. The deal was announced by Foxconn, Governor Scott Walker, and President Donald Trump last month in a White House ceremony.
But critics, including some Democrats, have attacked the plan as corporate welfare, as well as being too expensive, rushed, and not to mention the potential harm to the environment it could create. Democratic Representative Jill Billings said, “I think we need more time. I want a better deal and more guarantees for my taxpayers.”
Earlier, in a debate that lasted several hours, Assembly Democrats proposed referring the matter to the finance committee for review, which would have stopped the debate. The Assembly rejected the proposal with a 57-32 vote along party lines, save for Republican Representative Todd Novak, who voted in agreement. The Assembly also voted to ignore three Democrat proposed amendments, including a proposal to create a regionwide transit authority.
According to a legislative analysis released last week, Wisconsin would not break even on the incentive package for a minimum of 25 years.