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Governor Tony Evers has signaled that he wants to renegotiate the $10 billion agreement between the state and Foxconn Technology Group, according to a story by the Journal Sentinel.

Evers’ announcement comes weeks after Foxconn committed to building a Gen6 LCD manufacturing plant. Originally they planned a Gen 10.5 flat-screen plant. The 3 million square-foot-building footprint remains unchanged.

Evers looks to renegotiate deal

Evers said he wants to renegotiate the project because doesn’t believe Foxconn will create 13,000 jobs.

According to the story:

“Clearly the deal that was struck is no longer in play and so we will be working with individuals at Foxconn and of course with (the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.) to figure out how a new set of parameters should be negotiated.”

But officials with Foxconn have not wavered from the 13,000 employment number.

Those familiar with the project reiterated that those jobs numbers — which have a required median wage of $53,000 — span over an eight-year period throughout Wisconsin. Evers’ decision sparked a fury of criticism from Republicans, including House Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester).

“As Foxconn works to create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin, I’m open to hearing if any flexibility is needed to achieve that goal, which I hope is the intent of Governor Evers,” Vos said.

State Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) also registered his disdain for Evers’ decision.

“Governor Evers appears hell-bent to kill thousands of direct and indirect Foxconn jobs throughout Wisconsin,” Wanggaard said. “First, Governor Evers hoped that his rhetoric would drive Foxconn away. When it recommitted
to Wisconsin, he threatened its air permits. After his political appointees at the DNR reaffirmed the air permits, Foxconn recommitted again by buying a building that you can see from Governor Evers’ office. Now Governor Evers is trying to drive Foxconn out of Wisconsin by unilaterally renegotiating the contract between Foxconn and the state.”

On the construction front, homes have been razed, dirt has been moved and the utility work has begun. Foxconn also just issued the bid package for building the 3 million-square-foot building. Several hundred million dollars in roads and water projects have also been issued.

What’s in the Foxconn agreement?

The agreement between the Taiwanese-based electronics manufacturer and the state — negotiated in 2017 under former Governor Scott Walker — was predicated on it constructing a $5.570 billion project over a seven-year period. During Evers’ campaign, he often criticized the agreement saying that he didn’t think it was a good deal for Wisconsin.

Read the WEDC agreement.

This afternoon, he told reporters at the state capitol that his staff to work with officials with Foxconn to renegotiate the contract because “the current contract ‘deals with a situation that no longer exists,’” according to a story by Channel 12.

“Since the election, I have been concerned that Governor Evers would try to undermine the state’s contract with Foxconn. Luckily, WEDC negotiated an ironclad contract with expectations from both sides,” Vos said.

“The contract is simple. If Foxconn doesn’t perform to its obligations under its contract with the state, Foxconn it doesn’t receive any incentives from the state. If Foxconn underperforms, it leaves incentives on the table,” Wanggaard said. “What job creator, what person, would come to a state that goes back on its promises? Evers
should keep his campaign promises and respect the deal that was made.”

Foxconn Solidifies Vision for Manufacturing in Mount Pleasant

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.