Republicans knocked down three Dem amendments that sought to add provisions prioritizing Wisconsin workers and contractors in the project, adding new restrictions on the tax credits and wiping out exemptions to state environmental regulations for Foxconn.
All three fell along party lines, and Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, challenged Dems on their proposed changes, saying they risked chasing the company away. But Sen. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, said Dems were only trying to provide protections for their constituents.
Darling acknowledged the state may have trouble finding enough people to fill the jobs not only at the plant, but to construct the sprawling project. She predicted workers would move to Wisconsin to construct the plant and then staff it with a projected impact of $78 billion on the state’s economy over 15 years.
She said real estate companies have contacted her asking who they can connect with at Foxconn to prepare for people moving here
“Do you want to be the ones who are going to say good-bye?” she asked, challenging Dems to look into their hearts about why they’re opposing the project considering the potential benefits.
But Bewley said no one in her district has encouraged her to support the bill. Instead, the described the deal as one-side when it comes to the northern Wisconsin residents she represents. They will send their tax dollars to Foxconn while their schools, roads and Medicaid, for example, will have to compete for state resources with those incentives, which would be baked into the deal.
Bewley questioned the promised ripple effect from the southeastern Wisconsin district that proponents said would benefit the entire state. She added Dems’ consciences are clear because they are trying to make the deal better by adding protections for their constituents.
“We are following our conscience to do as our districts tell us and to do what is best for the entire state,” she said.