Assembly approves Foxconn benefit package

Posted at 6:24 PM, Aug 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-17 23:18:33-04

Foxconn is one step closer to bringing a massive manufacturing facility to southeastern Wisconsin after lawmakers approved a $3 billion incentives package Thursday night following a heated debate at the statehouse.

Several lawmakers told TODAY’S TMJ4 they anticipated the Assembly vote to stay along party lines. A vast majority of Republicans were supportive of the Foxconn Bill while most Democrats were skeptical. The measure passed 59-30 to bring the Taiwanese tech giant one step closer to making a community ‘Wisconn Valley’.

Assembly Speaker and Republican Rep. Robin Vos was happy to see some bipartisan support after the final tally.

“We had more Democrats vote ‘yes’ for the bill than Republicans vote ‘no,’”  Vos said.

Thursday’s lengthy debate was largely dominated by dozens of Democrats expressing concerns over the state’s ability to break even on the deal. The $3 billion package would be funded by taxpayer dollars over 15 years. 

“The 25 year payback is far too long and it’s unnecessary,” said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca.

The $13 billion plant is expected to produce between 3,000 and 13,000 jobs.'

“This deal definitely not a deal in my mind,” said Democratic Rep. David Bowen.

Bowen, of Milwaukee, is worried about loosening environmental regulations for the proposed 20 million-square foot campus.

“The details and numbers don’t add up to me,” he said.

Rep. Cory Mason of Racine was disappointed some of the amendments proposed by Democrats didn’t come to fruition. One of the proposed amendments would have prioritized Wisconsin residents for the jobs. 

“I don’t think what Democrats were asking for today was outrageous. In fact, it was just basic common sense stuff,” Mason said.

Vos calls this a once in a generation opportunity for the state. He believes it could have a ripple effect on southeastern Wisconsin’s economy.

“My goal is to still get this to Gov. Walker’s desk by early September,” he said.

Before the bill could go to the governor it has to be passed by the senate. The state’s agreement with Foxconn requires the incentives package to be approved by the end of September. Vos said the site’s location has not been selected, however, it is believed to be between Racine and Kenosha Counties.