Despite multiple assurances from the CEO of Foxconn, President Donald Trump, former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzegerald, it looks like the Foxconn LCD plant ain’t a gonna happen!
Foxconn Technology Group is reconsidering plans to make advanced liquid crystal display panels at its Racine County campus, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Foxconn “said it intends to hire mostly engineers and researchers rather than the manufacturing workforce the project originally promised,” the report says.
The report is based on an interview with Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou.
Over the last 10 months, the company has radically altered its planned employment mix and the nature of the manufacturing operation, and failed to create enough jobs in 2018 to qualify for state tax credits.
In the wake of the Reuters report, though, Foxconn on Wednesday pledged again – as it has repeatedly amid earlier developments – to creating 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin. The latest statement did not say anything about investing up to $10 billion in the Racine County manufacturing and research complex, another element in the state’s contract with the company.
Woo said in the Reuters story “that the company was still evaluating options for Wisconsin, but cited the steep cost of making advanced TV screens in the United States, where labor expenses are comparatively high,” Reuters said.
“In terms of TV, we have no place in the U.S.,” Woo said. “We can’t compete.”
Rather than a focus on LCD manufacturing, Foxconn wants to create a “technology hub” in Wisconsin that would largely consist of research facilities along with packaging and assembly operations, Woo said.
This probably comes as little surprise to many of you considering Foxconn’s track record on announcing plants around the world and then not following through.
I can’t imagine that any of us are surprised that it costs more to manufacture TVs in the US than it does to manufacture them in Asia or elsewhere. And that should have been apparent to Foxconn and the Republicans in Madison…because it’s been that way for decades and isn’t likely to change anytime in the near future.
So who gets to sue whom first? WEDC sues Foxconn (yes the article says the WEDC has no interest in changing their contract)? Citizens sue WEDC? Citizens sue the former governor and the majority leaders in Madison? Racine County or the villages in the county sue Foxconn? or WEDC? Will the residential property owners get to sue their respective locales for condemning and seizing their property for the plant that won’t exist?
This thing is going to play out in the courts for years.