While he has yet to formally announce that he will seek reelection in 2018, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is making a case for remaining in office, suggesting that he’s necessary if the state is to secure a business deal with the Taiwanese multinational electronics contract manufacturing company Foxconn.
Foxconn has proposed building a factory in southeastern Wisconsin, which it claims could eventually employ up to 13,000 people. The company says it will invest nearly $10 billion in the facility, in exchange for an incentive package unveiled just under two weeks ago. Analysis by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows it would take until at least 2042 before the state sees a return on that investment.
Critics of the proposed package of tax incentives, totaling nearly $3 billion, have pointed to previous development offers that Foxconn has made, that have failed to pan out — including a 2013 proposal in Pennsylvania, which failed to produce any jobs.
The Republican governor, who last week suggested that critics of the Foxconn deal should “suck lemons,” addressed the criticisms again on Wednesday, during remarks in Wausau.
“The few examples that critics of this have pointed to are places like Pennsylvania, where they talked about it and didn’t engage. The main reason for that is in Pennsylvania, they changed the Governor in the middle of the deal,” said Walker. “It’s probably a pretty compelling argument why we shouldn’t change who the Governor is for the next four or five years.”
Walker had previously pledged not to announce his reelection bid until work on a new state budget is completed. That budget is now 40 days past due, and Republican lawmakers are split over whether the Foxconn incentive package should take precedence over finishing the budget.
Affiliate WSAU contributed to this report