WEDC Secretary and CEO Mark Hogan says the earliest that the agency’s board could vote on the $3 billion incentive package for Foxconn would likely be at its next scheduled meeting Nov. 8.
Hogan spoke to reporters after a WEDC board meeting Tuesday, downplaying any concerns that the state and Foxconn missed a Sept. 30 target to agree on a deal.
Both sides had agreed in their memorandum of understanding the “importance of finalizing the terms” of the deal by Sept. 30, but Hogan said the agency is taking its time to ensure taxpayers are fully protected under the contract.
“We’re going to take whatever time is required to get it right,” he said.
On Monday, a DOA spokesman said it was possible that WEDC’s board would vote Tuesday on the agency’s staff review of the deal. That would give the agency authority to move forward and execute the contract, which Foxconn also needs to approve. But the board, which met in Madison Tuesday, did not vote and instead heard an update in closed session.
Hogan said missing the Sept. 30 date has never been an issue either for the state or Foxconn and that it was “never a line in the sand.” Hogan described the Sept. 30 date as a target and noted both sides “accomplished a lot” by then, including getting lawmakers’ approval for the incentive package.
Foxconn, he pointed out, already has some employees working in southeastern Wisconsin and has had representatives show up at community events and conferences in recent weeks.
“They’re moving forward as if this transaction is going to take place,” he said.
Rep. Peter Barca, a Kenosha Dem who’s a WEDC board member, said after the meeting that given the complexity of the deal it’s not “at all surprising” negotiations are still continuing. He also said he would much rather have WEDC “take the time to fully do the due diligence” on the deal to make sure the state’s investment is protected.
“It’s very important that we get it done right, because there’s a lot of money involved on the part of the taxpayers,” he said.
Both declined to comment on any outstanding issues on the deal, saying they can’t share details of the negotiations.