Wisconsin lawmakers begin special session on Foxconn incentive package

$3 billion incentive package proposed

MADISON, Wis. (AP/WTMJ) - Republican state lawmakers are meeting privately to discuss a three billion dollar incentive package for Taiwan-based Foxconn to build a new display panel manufacturing plant in Wisconsin.
 
Republican and Democratic lawmakers can both agree on one thing: This is a huge deal for Wisconsin.
 

"This is a big bill but its a really big project," said Representative Tod Ohnstad, (D) Kenosha.
 
"It's the biggest story wherever you go in Wisconsin," said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, (R) Rochester.
 
Governor Scott Walker called a special session that officially began on Tuesday, but no legislative action was expected until later in the week when the incentive bill was likely to get a public hearing.
 
Instead, Republicans who control the Senate and Assembly planned to meet privately to discuss the bill.
 
"We want to make sure we're ahead of it so that people don't start to believe untruthful rhetoric," said Vos.
 
Concerns have been raised both about the cost to taxpayers. Representative Ohnstad of Kenosha still wants to study the terms of the deal.
 
"Make sure that the taxpayers in Wisconsin are protected," said Ohnstad.
 
"Foxconn doesn't get anything if they don't produce," said Senator Van Wanggaard, (R) Racine.
 
Concerns also continue with other provisions designed to accommodate Foxconn, like the waving of numerous environmental permitting requirements and other regulations.
 
"They're not gonna come in as a corporate entity and dump into things into our environment that will hurt our environment. They're going to put ten billion dollars into their complex," said Wanggaard.
 
Representative Ohnstad says he is concerned simply over how fast the bill may go through.
 
"I wish there was more time but it is what it is," said Ohnstad.
 
Walker and other backers have pointed to the economic benefit of the proposed plant that could employ up to 13,000 people.
 
A public hearing on the Foxconn bill is scheduled for Thursday.
 
A vote in the full Assembly is expected mid-August.
 
The deal requires the state legislature to pass the incentive package no later than Sept. 30.

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