(Beaver Dam) State democratic officials held a public town hall event Tuesday at the Beaver Dam Community Library to discuss Foxconn. The $9-billion dollar facility will be built in Mount Pleasant and will make L-C-D screens for TV’s and smartphones. Roughly 20 area residents heard topics that ranged from taxpayer liabilities, environmental impacts and details on the contract signed between the Taiwanese based company and Wisconsin.
Foxconn would receive up to $2.85-billion in cash payments from taxpayers over 15 years and additional sales tax exemptions on construction materials for the plant totaling $150-million. Senator Chris Larson, who represents District 7, says state officials did not represent their constituents while negotiating the Foxconn deal. He says the reason this deal became the biggest corporate give-away in the country was because the state was arguing on Foxconn’s behalf and not for its residents.
In order to get the full payments from the state, Foxconn’s employment must rise to 5,200 by 2022, to 10,400 by 2027 and to the promised 13,000 jobs by 2032. Also, workers must be paid at least $30-thousand a year and the average annual salary must by at least $53,900. Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Janet Bewley says there is no requirement from Foxconn to retain the jobs it creates and many could be gotten rid of or be automated at some point.
If Foxconn lies to the state, shuts down its manufacturing operations or move elsewhere, Wisconsin could recoup all the tax credit money. Larson says however in 2023 those potential penalties are capped at $965-million dollars and fall to $386-million by 2032. He says the company has not been transparent and has not made themselves available to the public or legislatures to answer questions or discuss concerns they may have.
The democratic officials say the costs going to Foxconn could be better spent on small business development, transportation and other state programs such as public schools and the UW system. They say if there is a national recession, these programs would have to be cut due the states contractual obligation to make cash payments to Foxconn.