The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.
The Chicago Tribune editorial board recently released a scathing review of Illinois speaking to the economic woes and anemic rate of growth in the Land of Lincoln, especially when compared to Wisconsin. While we should be flattered that our neighbors to the south are starting to take notice, you can’t help but ask: what has taken them so long?
One answer might be the recent landing of the Midwest white whale Foxconn. Seven states tried to lure in the massive tech giant from Taiwan, including Illinois, but it was us, Wisconsin, that reeled them in. A tauntingly 20 miles away from Illinois, Foxconn will set up shop in southeastern Wisconsin putting us on the map as a leader in technological innovation.
While Foxconn may be located in southeastern Wisconsin, its impact will be felt statewide. Drawing from all over the state, up to 22,000 induced and indirect jobs will be created. Foxconn is planning on purchasing more than $5 billion from Wisconsin companies during the construction phase and $1.4 billion annually once fully operational. Communities from Kenosha to Superior will feel the effects of welcoming Foxconn to Wisconsin. Foxconn doesn’t just benefit southeastern Wisconsin, it benefits all of Wisconsin.
Foxconn did not choose Wisconsin by happenchance. Since 2010, Wisconsin has been making its way back. Ranked as the 41st state for business, we needed to make a change, and did we ever. Instead of continuing on our path of taxing and spending, we implemented bold conservative reforms which have turned our business climate around.
Year in and year out, we have reduced taxes, returning billions of dollars to the hardworking taxpayers. By empowering you, the taxpayer, we have strengthened as a state, reducing our unemployment rate to 3.5 percent, lower than the national average. In the most recent rankings, Wisconsin was in the top 10 for business in the nation. I can say with confidence, Foxconn would not have located in Wisconsin if we were still ranked 41st.
Foxconn had many lucrative offers to choose from. Ranked 38th for business, Michigan offered Foxconn $800 million more in tax incentives than Wisconsin. Illinois the 41st ranked state also tried to attract Foxconn. The appeal of Chicago and O’Hare International Airport is strong, but was not enough to overcome its poor business climate. It was our business climate and proud Wisconsin workers that secured the deal, a deal that we can all be proud of.
This momentous opportunity will bring thousands of family-supporting jobs to Wisconsin, transforming our economy. We will look back at this moment as a turning point for Wisconsin, the point in which we became the economic powerhouse of the Midwest.
I am proud of the work that we together as a state have accomplished. It is evident that the Wisconsin way is winning. While other states are looking around asking what happened, in Wisconsin we are looking forward, asking ourselves, what can we do next?
— Nygren, R – Marinette, represents the 89th Assembly District and is co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee.