Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, says he doubts Foxconn will have created enough jobs in 2019 to qualify for state tax credits, regardless of the debate over whether the company is in compliance with the deal it signed with the state.
The company fell short of the minimum jobs required to qualify for credits in 2018, but a Foxconn official has expressed confidence it will surpass the minimum mark of 520 as of Dec. 31.
At the same time, the Evers administration has told Foxconn the company is not compliant with the terms of the contract, making it ineligible for the credits. Falling short of the minimum positions required would make it a moot point on the jobs credits, though the contract also has provisions for the capital investment at the Racine County site.
If the company wants to ensure it’s eligible for credits, it should apply to amend the contract and “right size the deal,” Hintz said. He also criticized the company for what he believes is a lack of transparency over its true intentions with the Wisconsin facility.
“We have no idea what they’re doing,” Hintz said in a year-end interview with WisPolitics.com. “I’m on the WEDC Board, and I have no idea what they’re doing. I drive past, though, and see they’re building something, moving dirt around.”
Hintz charged Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, has scheduled fewer floor days than in recent sessions as part of an effort to deny Dems more chances to highlight the issues Republicans have failed to act on.
Hintz said he would like to see the Assembly take up the “dark store” bill, which he says has bipartisan support, and the pharmacy benefit manager legislation, which has 99 co-authors. He said if the latter doesn’t pass, it’s a “gatekeeper issue.”
He also hoped the guv and Legislature could reach a compromise on addressing mental health, particularly in schools, after the incidents at two high schools involving safety officers. That includes one in his hometown of Oshkosh.
Still, he said overall, the speaker’s goal this session seems to be simple.
“His focus remains trying to thwart Gov. Evers from being successful by shrinking the session, denying him substantive wins and getting out of here,” Hintz said.
As for next fall’s elections, Hintz said several issues that were once viewed as inside baseball have now become motivators for voters, including redistricting. He said it’s also starting to break through with voters that progress won’t be made on those issues until “we change the faces” running the Legislature.
He said Dems plan to go on offense in several areas, including suburban districts and areas where Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, performed well last fall.
Hintz said it’s been clear that Vos will target Doyle, Meyers, Milroy and Vining. But he likes their chances.
“I’m very confident of the candidates I have in those seats, because they do the work, they have crossover appeal and they take their job seriously,” Hintz said.
Listen to the interview: