State leaders react to Foxconn’s uncertain future

NOW: State leaders react to Foxconn’s uncertain future

MADISON (CBS 58) – It was a warm day in June last summer when President Donald Trump joined then Governor Scott Walker and other officials in Racine County to break ground on a project that promised billions of dollars in development and thousands of jobs.

Now, seven months later, a report from Reuters raises questions about the focus of the Foxconn development. The report says Foxconn may potentially shift away from its plans for an assembly plant in favor or more high-skilled tech jobs.

Foxconn’s future in Wisconsin continues to be a topic of debate at the state capitol. State lawmakers are trying to bring clarity as to what that future will look like.

Earlier this month, Governor Tony Evers told reporters that he had discussed Foxconn’s future with Republicans during a meeting with them. “Foxconn is in existence in this state,” Evers said. “We have to make sure that they succeed in a way that is open and transparent.”

However, the Evers administration said Wednesday that it was “surprised” by the development brought to light by the Reuters report. A statement from Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary-designee Joel Brenna said that the Evers administration is in regular communication with Foxconn leadership and that details in the report will require more review and evaluation. It goes on to say that the administration will “continue to monitor the project to ensure the company delivers on its promises to the people of Wisconsin.

Republican leadership suggested Foxconn’s reconsideration may be due to the change in administrations after last year’s election. A joint statement from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says Foxconn is “reacting to the wave of economic uncertainty that the new governor has brought with his administration.” It goes on to say that, “Governor Evers has an anti-jobs agenda and pledged to do away with a successful business incentive for manufacturing and agriculture.”

State Democrats believe it’s not fair for Republicans to place blame on the Evers administration. “[Republican leadership] owe an answer to the tax payers of Wisconsin for this horrible deal, this boondoggle that has let tax payers on the hook,” Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz told CBS 58 News in a phone interview. “To make that kind of excuse when it was no part of Foxconn’s explanation is a desperate way to try to evade responsibility that is 100 percent on them.”

Former Governor Scott Walker, published a tweet today, emphasizing the terms of the deal that requires Foxconn make concrete steps in order to receive tax credits. “Foxconn earns state tax credits based on actual investment and job creation,” Walker wrote. “No jobs/investment? No credits. Period.”

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