‘UpFront’: Evers says Foxconn a ‘Hail Mary,’ not a fair deal

UpFront

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha” he would renegotiate the Foxconn deal if he’s elected governor in 2018.

Evers, the state’s DPI superintendent since 2009, said he would renegotiate whichever parts of the deal could be renegotiated.

“I don’t think it’s a fair deal for the people of Wisconsin,” Evers said on the show, which is produced in partnership with Wispolitics.com. “I think it’s a bit of a Hail Mary pass. Three billion dollars, without environmental restrictions on the company and no guarantees on the number of jobs.”

Evers said companies across the state “have expanded greatly for less money and are doing quite well.”

He also said the “enormous” cost of the deal “cramps the state going forward as far as what’s available for schools, for roads, for all number of things that the state is ultimately responsible for.”

Evers also pushed back against Republican charges that he’s a “Madison bureaucrat.”

“I’ve lived outside the Madison bubble for most of my life,” he said. “I was born and raised in Plymouth. I worked all across central Wisconsin, so I know rural, I know urban, I’ve been involved with communities all across the state, and that’s why I’m running, frankly.

“I think it’s extraordinarily important that we seek a change in the outlook of the state of Wisconsin, and invest in our citizens and make sure that we have a middle class,” Evers said.

Also on the program, state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, whose 21st Senate District is expected to get the Foxconn plant, said he’s heard very little opposition from constituents to the state’s deal with Foxconn.

“The majority of people understand what a game changer this is,” Wanggaard said of the new technology coming to Wisconsin. “This is just going to be game changing for the next five decades.”

Wanggaard said he expected the majority of the Foxconn campus to be located in Racine County, in the Mt. Pleasant-Sturtevant area. The company has not yet announced a site.

Wanggaard said he agreed with the Walker administration’s assessment that 90 percent of the Foxconn workers would be Wisconsin residents, as opposed to coming from Illinois.

“Eventually a lot of those individuals move up to Wisconsin and move into in our state,” he said.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett also appeared on the program to discuss his letter to the governor and lawmakers, asking them to authorize a half-cent sales tax for the city, which Barrett wants to put to a vote of city residents.

Barrett said the half-cent sales tax is needed to hire more police officers.

“I am not asking the state Legislature for a penny,” he said. “What I’m asking them is to help us address our public safety needs.”

Barrett said the city has put more money into the police department, but between the loss of shared revenue from the state, and a state-imposed limit on property taxes, the city can’t do it anymore.

“It is now broken,” he said. “Our hands are completely tied right now.”

He said he was confident that city residents would vote to approve a half-cent sales tax given the opportunity.

Without the additional revenue, Barrett said there will be future cuts to public safety.

“It’s going to happen,” he said. “I’m going to be very clear. There are going to be fewer police officers and there are going to be fewer firefighters on the streets next year if we don’t have this.”

Barrett said he would resist demands from lawmakers that the city make changes in police department leadership or policy, in return for authorization of the sales tax.

“That is a non-starter for me, to have them come and say, ‘OK, we’re going to decide who’s the police chief, or we’re going to decide the policy of the police department,'” he said.

See more from the show: http://www.wisn.com/upfront

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