Front page, top story above the fold, immediately below the masthead, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran this story this morning: State taxpayers could be owing Foxconn!
Now on the face of it, this isn’t new news. Most anyone in the state following the boondoggle that is the $3 billion giveaway knows that Governor Scott Walker and company put the Wisconsin taxpayer on the line to pay cash to Foxconn if they meet the expectations outlined in the original agreement.
What we didn’t know are some of the new revelations from this morning’s article:
Taxpayers could pay Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn for work done outside of Wisconsin unless changes are made to how the state’s jobs agency issues tax credits, a state audit shows.
The Legislature’s Audit Bureau is recommending the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. make changes to its procedures to avoid awarding tax credits to Foxconn Technology Group for work that isn’t being done in the state.
Before this, the one saving grace in the deal was Foxconn’s history of not following through on their promises. I figured Wisconsin wouldn’t much of a liability here since Foxconn wouldn’t meet their hiring targets. But this makes it sound like they could in fact hit hiring targets without actually hiring employees who work in the State of Wisconsin…just think:
Under its deal with Foxconn, Wisconsin would pay more than $200,000 in state taxpayer money per job created. The audit for the first time raises the prospect that some of the jobs might not be in Wisconsin, under existing WEDC procedures.
Those procedures allow the company to receive tax credits for employees who are working from home or considered “remote” or “sales” workers.
Legislative Audit Committee co-Chairman Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, said the audit “uncovered a discrepancy that had the potential to cost Wisconsin taxpayers money.”
So why do I, as a Wisconsin taxpayer, think we should sue Governor Scott Walker for malpractice? Because he didn’t so his due diligence here. Because he is pretty much party to what WEDC does. Because he rushed this thing to fruition while currying favor with President Donald Trump. And because:
A spokesman for WEDC did not answer whether the agency has ever awarded tax credits to businesses for work that wasn’t done in Wisconsin.
Pretty much makes it seem like WEDC has in fact at one time or another…awarded tax credits to a business for work not done in Wisconsin. So we have malpractice and a coverup? But there’s more…and because of this:
The bureau’s audit released Wednesday shows the agency’s procedures don’t comply with the state’s contract with Foxconn and state law. (emphasis mine)
So Governor Scott Walker’s WEDC has procedures that violate Wisconsin Laws? Wasn’t the aforementioned governor at one time the official CEO of WEDC? Doesn’t he get to appoint any number of board members and management types to WEDC? If WEDC is breaking the law, doesn’t the billion buck stop in the governor’s office?
So when can we sue the governor for malpractice? I think we ask for $3 billion plus costs. And if WEDC procedures are in violation of state law and the procedures have actually been followed…when can we ‘lock him up’?
btw: Governor-elect Tony Evers ran on shutting down WEDC because it smacked of corruption at worst and irresponsible mismanagement at best…and the lame duck session made some major adjustments to prevent his interference in the near term. Wonder why?