State Senate passes Foxconn deal

Elias Hubbard
September 13, 2017

On a mostly partisan-line vote, the Wisconsin Senate approved a tax-incentive plan to bring a Foxconn manufacturing plant to the state. He says he believes Foxconn will honor its commitment to invest $10 billion to build the plant, as the company creates jobs.

A recent analysis by the Legislature's nonpartisan fiscal bureau estimated it would take 25 years for state coffers to realize a return on the tax credits.

"There are no guarantees in this legislation, and we don't even know what we're buying", Erpenbach said.

"Passing this up would be a huge mistake", she said.

Cowles was the only Republican to vote against the proposal that passed Tuesday on a 20-13 vote.

State Sen. Robert Wirch, D-Kenosha, voted with the Republicans, and State Sen.

But Republicans argued Foxconn is a "win" for America and will bring "cutting edge technology" to the state, State Sen. Rob Cowles, of Allouez, voted against it.

Following a final vote Thursday, the bill then goes to Governor Scott Walker who led negotiations on the deal, and has a deadline to sign the bill by the end of the month. The bill as amended by committee last week required the Supreme Court to take all appeals directly from the circuit court, skipping the state appeals court.

Madison attorney Lester Pines said the new approach still raises constitutional questions about separation of powers.

Under the change, the Supreme Court would decide whether to keep the case or send it down to the appeals court for a decision first.

"This is bad for democracy, bad for our government, bad for the whole process", Democratic Sen.

During Tuesday's debate, Senate Democrats proposed a slew of amendments to the bill.

Senate Democrats say they want changes to ensure the state can recover up to $2.85 billion in cash payments to Foxconn if it doesn't make the job or financial investment. It could also qualify for $150 million in sales tax exemptions for construction equipment.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told senators, as debate began Tuesday, that he's glad Senate Republicans "pumped the brakes" on taking up the Foxconn bill earlier this summer.

Mayor John Antaramian wrote to Gov. Scott Walker on Monday that the legislative bill being considered for Foxconn doesn't do enough to address state laws making it hard for the city to support the project. She says Foxconn will employ up to 13,000 people. Since the deal was announced, they've criticized the size of the incentives - a record $3 billion - and the fact that the package would free the Taiwanese company from some environmental regulations.

Foxconn was eyeing locations in southeastern Wisconsin, in between Milwaukee and Chicago.

With the City of Kenosha removing itself from consideration on Tuesday, Racine County is the frontrunner to land the Foxconn plant.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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