Gov. Evers Shouldn’t Waste His Time on Foxconn

It’s become painfully apparent to nearly everyone in the Sate of Wisconsin that the Foxconn development isn’t going to be the project described in the contract that former Governor Scott Walker signed with the company. With that in mind Governor Tony Evers wants to negotiate a new contract with Foxconn.

Gov. Tony Evers said Wednesday he wants to renegotiate the state’s contract with Foxconn Technology Group and emphasized the Taiwanese company won’t be creating 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin as originally envisioned.  

“Clearly the deal that was struck is no longer in play and so we will be working with individuals at Foxconn and of course with (the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.) to figure out how a new set of parameters should be negotiated,” Evers told reporters in his Capitol office. 

He said it was premature to say what specific changes he would be seeking. Under existing deals, the state and local governments could provide the company up to $4 billion to establish a massive facility in Racine County and create up to 13,000 Wisconsin jobs.

“All’s we know is that the present contract deals with a situation that no longer exists, so it’s our goal to make sure that the taxpayers are protected and environmental standards are protected,” he said. “And we believe we need to take a look at that contract and see if it needs to be downsized as a result.”

Let’s not waste our time and money. If Foxconn doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain, the state’s promises to provide tax credits aren’t going to happen.

And then there’s the headache of push back in Madison. We are already seeing enough Republican recalcitrance around the budget and the bad blood that developed around the lame duck sessions, laws and now court cases that we don’t need to jump into this mire. It just isn’t worth it.

Besides, as Assembly Majority Leader Robin Vos said:

…(he) was glad the state has an “ironclad contract” with the firm.

So governor…let it go. When they don’t hold up their end of the bargain…the state, Racine County, the Village of Mount Pleasant, and the residents of Wisconsin who were displaced and lost their property, sue them. Because…you know…the contract is ‘ironclad’. End of story.

So let’s not spend anymore political or real capital on this issue. Let’s just watch the whole thing implode.

Once hailed as “transformational” by former Gov. Scott Walker and other advocates, and touted by President Donald Trump as the “eighth wonder of the world,” the Foxconn project has been drawing increasing skepticism for the last year as the company shifted its stated plans.

First came a sharp change in the proportion of factory workers to engineers. Then Foxconn gradually acknowledged that it would not build the massive “Gen 10.5” flat-screen plant specified in its contracts with state and local governments, but rather would construct a smaller, less costly “Gen 6” facility.

Earlier this year, it looked like the company might back away from building any sort of factory in Wisconsin — news that prompted Trump to get on the phone to Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou, quickly followed by a public pledge by the company to forge ahead with a Gen 6 plant.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald needs to get over himself and sit down and shut up just once:

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald ripped into Evers’ latest comments, saying they showed the Democratic governor “wanted to undermine the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation from day one.”

“If the state is willing to renege on its commitment to Foxconn and open up a contract without agreement by both parties, then what guarantee can Wisconsin make to any other company that wants to expand here?” the Juneau Republican said in a statement.

Yes, the new governor campaigned on replacing WEDC…but has since backed away from that position…and Sen Fitzgerald, et al, poisoned that well with the lame duck laws. But if you have kept up to date on the Foxconn news, the governor isn’t/hasn’t reneged on the contract…Foxconn has…and the governor wants to document the new reality. Except there really isn’t going to be one.

And remember when I said just above, that nearly everyone knew this had become a hoax? Well here are the hand full of players who haven’t gotten it yet: Sen. Fitzgerald of course and his buddy Rep. Robin Vos and Rep. Van Wanggaard of Racine:

… the governor is “hell bent to kill thousands of direct and indirect Foxconn jobs”

Knock knock: (crickets)

So let’s get on with governing…work out the budget…fix our education issues…fix our infrastructure issues…guarantee clean water…and let Foxconn fail.

And meanwhile back at what’s left of the ranch:

Asked for reaction, a Foxconn spokeswoman had not responded by Wednesday evening.

UPDATE 4/18/19 7 PM:

Foxconn on Thursday reiterated its pledge to create 13,000 jobs, a commitment the company has stuck with through multiple changes to other aspects of its plans.

On Thursday, Foxconn issued a statement pledging to create jobs in Wisconsin.

“Foxconn remains committed to our contract with the State of Wisconsin, as well as continuing to work with Governor Evers and his team in a forthcoming and transparent manner,” the company said in its statement. 

Two industry experts on Thursday speculated that the manufacturing plant itself could require as few as 2,000 employees.

And Rep. Robin Vos remains in La La Land!


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