Mike Browne, Deputy Director
MADISON, Wis. — The State Senate is set to debate legislation today that would provide the largest ever state subsidy to a foreign corporation. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director characterized the proposal in a word, “failure.”
“The one word that sums up this bill is failure,” commented Ross. “It fails to protect taxpayers and guarantee that Wisconsin tax dollars will only go to support Wisconsin jobs. It fails to protect workers from a foreign corporation whose CEO referred to his employees as animals. It fails to protect our communities from pollution and it fails to allow Wisconsinites to have their day in court.”
Ross cited specifics of the bill that would give the largest subsidy to a foreign company in American history including:
- Fails 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;
- Fails 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;
- Fails 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;
- Fails 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;
- Fails to protect Wisconsinites right to their day in court and respect our judicial system: In cases brought against Foxconn any rulings could be immediately stayed and appeals would go directly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which is controlled by Republicans following $9 million in spending by the pro-Foxconn Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.
According to two separate public opinion polls of Wisconsinites, the bill fails to win the support of a majority of those surveyed. It has also failed to win the support of one of the municipalities being eyed as the site for the Foxconn factory. Via letter, the City of Kenosha formally withdrew from consideration due to the legislation’s failure to comprehensively address local government concerns.