Members of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee were seeking answers on an incentive package for Foxconn’s proposed southeastern Wisconsin factory, during a hearing Tuesday at Gateway Technical College in Sturtevant.
State Representative Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) was among Democrats skeptical of Foxconn’s claims that it could eventually employ up to 13,000 workers, while noting the company’s promises to build in other areas have not always happened. “Is it reasonable to believe that a company with such a long track record of over-promising and under-performing will follow through on their investment pledges?” he asked.
Administration officials defended the nearly $3 billion incentive package, with Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary Mark Hogan pointing out that the company can only access tax credits when it delivers on its job and $10 billion investment promises.
JFC co-chair John Nygren (R-Marinette) noted that, without the incentives, it’s unlikely that Foxconn would have come to Wisconsin and likely would have ended up looking at another state. “If we don’t provide this incentive package, would Foxconn have agreed to come to Wisconsin?”
Lawmakers heard hours of testimony on the bill, which passed the Assembly last week and could be taken up by the state Senate early next month.
Among those speaking in support of the bill during the early hours of the hearing were Representatives Cory Mason (D-Racine) and Tod Ohntsad (D-Kenosha) – two of the three Democrats who voted in favor of the bill in the Assembly. Several area county executives also testified in support, citing the benefits the development would likely have for the region.