Wisconsin is one step closer to signing a contract offering $3 billion dollars in state tax incentives to Foxconn, for the Taiwanese electronics maker’s proposed LCD display factory in Pleasant Prairie.
The board of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation on Wednesday approved a staff review of the deal, which clears the way for the state to finalize it. The 29-page contract draft ties many of the tax credits and other incentives being offered to the company, which plans to invest $10 billion in a factory it says could employ up to 13,000 workers, to the number of jobs created and maintained at the facility over the next 15 years.
“The fine line was to find a way to balance the needs of the company with the needs of the state,” said WEDC Secretary Mark Hogan, shortly after the board emerged from closed session on Wednesday.
Two Democratic lawmakers who sit on the WEDC board voted against its approval. State Representative Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) said he had concerns about the state spending that much money on a single industry, when it could invest the same amount in start-ups that would create more diversity. “Three billion dollars, spent on one company within one industry, is a risk that I think is too much for our taxpayers,” he argued.
Wachs, who is seeking the Democratic nomination in the race for governor, denied his decision was motivated by politics. “I held off my judgment until I received documents to review and take a hard look at,” he said. “I had hoped this had been a deal I could support…but it’s just too much money.”
Governor Scott Walker and Foxconn CEO Terry Gou are scheduled to sign the contract Friday at a ceremony in Racine.