RACINE COUNTY – Local elected officials sounded happy and relieved that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) and Foxconn Technology Group reached a new agreement on subsidizing a manufacturing complex in Mount Pleasant.

The original agreement was developed in 2017 by Republican officials, led by former Gov. Scott Walker. The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature approved the nearly $4 billion in state and local tax incentives. Foxconn was slated to invest $10 billion and employ 13,000 jobs.

Walker lost his re-election bid to now-Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, in 2018. Meanwhile, Foxconn made a smaller investment than originally planned. The Evers Administration and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) declined Foxconn’s eligibility for state tax credits because the project did not follow the 2017 agreement.

The WEDC and Foxconn officials have been negotiating a new agreement for more than a year. State Democrats have criticized the original deal while Republicans have downplayed Foxconn’s actions.

Comments

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, a member of the WEDC Board of Directors whose Assembly district includes the Foxconn manufacturing facility site: “I am happy that Wisconsin and Foxconn were able to come to an updated agreement and glad the company continues to grow in Mount Pleasant. Foxconn is already the largest property taxpayer in Racine County. I have toured their campus and facilities and I’m excited about the incredible things they are working on. Despite all of the liberal criticism when the initial agreement was passed, this amendment actually gives the company even more financial incentives than the original did. Hopefully we can now put the politics surrounding the development behind us and focus on the partnership that continues to benefit all of Wisconsin.”

Rep. Greta Neubauer, D-Racine: “I’m grateful to learn that Gov. Evers’ renegotiated Foxconn agreement will save Wisconsin taxpayers more than $2.7 billion. Times have changed since 2017, and Wisconsinites should not bear that burden as we work to recover and bounce back from this pandemic. The agreement approved by the Board today will provide a more realistic framework for the Foxconn project, and I hope that this will come with renewed efforts to create the good-paying, family-supporting jobs our community needs.’

Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, whose Senate district includes the Foxconn site: ”I’m glad that Foxconn remains dedicated to Racine County and continues to honor its local agreements. Foxconn’s willingness to come to the table and negotiate reflecting the evolution of the global marketplace shows its good intentions. It’s a shame that it had to come to this. Foxconn didn’t create the pandemic, or the hostile intentions of the Evers Administration towards the project. Big screen TVs were never the end-all-be-all of this project, even if it was the crutch the Administration used to blow up the original pay-as-you-go agreement. In spite of these obstacles, Foxconn is maintaining its commitment to Racine County and Wisconsin. At least 1,400 jobs and over a billion dollars of investment is coming to Mount Pleasant in the next few years. Foxconn is still a catalyst bringing other businesses to the area. Under any definition, that is something to be excited about and look forward to.”

Village of Mount Pleasant and Racine County joint statement: “We are pleased that Foxconn and the State of Wisconsin were able to reach agreement on the terms of an updated contract, which includes protections for local government investments. Foxconn’s obligations and required payments under the local development agreement with the Village of Mount Pleasant and Racine County have not changed. We remain confident that the strong protections in the local agreement will protect village and county taxpayers.”

Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...