MADISON, Wis. — Today, Gov. Scott Walker signed a contract to implement a deal that is the largest state giveaway to a foreign corporation in history — a deal that commits state and local taxpayers to nearly $4 billion in subsidies to bring a factory run by Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn.
The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross:
“Today Scott Walker literally signed away our future, agreeing to a contract to send billions of our tax dollars to boost the bottom line of a foreign corporation. Billions that could have instead been invested in our Main Street businesses and Wisconsin entrepreneurs, in restoring the cuts he made to our public schools, universities and technical colleges, or in repairing crumbling roads and bridges around the state.
Recent public opinion polling has found widespread opposition to the Foxconn deal and deep suspicion about Gov. Walker’s political motivations in concocting the corporate giveaway. Opposition to Walker’s giveaway is little surprise given that the deal:
- Fails to protect taxpayers from paying for jobs for Illinois workers: There is nothing in the proposal that guarantees workers in the new plant come from Wisconsin, meaning taxpayers will be subsidizing jobs for workers from Illinois and other states;
- 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 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: 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 & Commerce.