MADISON, Wis. — Today, Gov. Scott Walker is set to sign into law the largest state subsidy given to a foreign corporation in history. Under the terms of an agreement literally written out in longhand on a piece of stationary, taxpayers of the state of Wisconsin will be on the hook for billions of dollars, payable to Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn, with no guarantees their money will only be used to support Wisconsin jobs.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “By signing the Foxconn deal into law today Scott Walker, and the legislators that put the bill on his desk, are responsible for committing us to send billions to a foreign corporation instead of investing it here — in Wisconsin public schools and universities, in Wisconsin roads and bridges, and in Wisconsin businesses and entrepreneurs.”
According to Ross, Walker’s Foxconn deal doesn’t measure up on numerous fronts including:
- Failing to protect taxpayers from paying for jobs for Illinois workers: There is nothing in the proposal that guarantees that workers in the new plant come from Wisconsin, meaning taxpayers will be subsidizing jobs for workers from Illinois and other states;
- Failing to pay off: Figures from the independent Legislative Fiscal Bureau show that even with the rosiest projections and complete suspension of disbelief, it would take at least 25 years for the state to break even on the project. In fact, taxpayers will get $181 million a year in tax revenue but have to pay $250 million a year;
- Failing to protect workers: Foxconn Chair Terry Gou, who has a net worth of well over $10 billion, referred to his employees as “animals” and had an actual zookeeper train his senior management. Yet the bill contains no provisions to protect workers’ rights as Americans to choose to form a union;
- Failing to protect communities from pollution: The bill would exempt Foxconn from state environmental regulations requiring environmental analysis of the project and protecting wetlands and other waterways;
- Failing to protect Wisconsinites right to their day in court and respect our judicial system: A special process is created for lawsuits on the Foxconn project, lower court rulings could be immediately stayed upon appeal and could be expedited for review by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which is controlled by Republicans following $9 million in spending by the pro-Foxconn Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.
Other experts analyzing the deal have been critical in their reviews, noting the far above market rate per job subsidy being given to Foxconn. Despite being funded by taxpayers across the state, reducing funds available for their communities, any economic benefits will likely be limited to the immediate area in Southeastern Wisconsin where the factory is likely to be located.
Ross concluded, “Scott Walker is a desperate politician who cut a desperate deal with only one job in mind, his own. And it’s the rest of us that will be paying for generations for his malfeasance.”
One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.