Neitzel, Hogan highlight positive potential of Foxconn project

QUORUM CALL

STURTEVANT — In opening statements before the Joint Finance Committee’s hearing on the Foxconn bill, DOA Secretary Scott Neitzel and WEDC Secretary Mark Hogan today stressed ways the planned $10 billion investment would reshape the state’s economy.

Neitzel said Foxconn would transform the state’s economy by bringing electronics manufacturing back to the United States.

Neitzel added the $10 billion planned investment from Foxconn “will fundamentally transform and enhance the economic landscape in Wisconsin and establish our state as the leader in electronics manufacturing in the United States.”

Neitzel highlighted not only the possibility of 13,000 direct jobs and a $10 billion investment from Foxconn, but the ripple effects it would have through construction jobs and the supply chain.

The project, he said, would reverse the state’s brain drain, and result in a “brain gain.”

“We cannot let this opportunity pass us by,” Neitzel said.

Neitzel emphasized that while Foxconn under the legislation would not have to complete a state environmental impact statement and will be exempt from the state’s wetland permitting process, it will still have to follow federal rules and does not change state air, water or solid and hazardous waste regulations.

Hogan said the project would have effects on expanded supply chains and talent attraction and retention that can’t be quantified. He said input from those in academia, business and other area has been that the project will “change the trajectory of Wisconsin for generations to come.”

He also emphasized that the tax credits will not be paid until Foxconn starts hiring and that the legislation also includes clawback and revocation provisions.

Addressing concerns that automation could put a dent in jobs projections at Foxconn, Neitzel said the plant will be heavily automated from the start.

“Every conversation we’ve had with the company ends up at 13,000 jobs,” he said.

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