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Feb 5, 201912:53 PMInside Wisconsin

with Tom Still

Global trends and markets are behind Foxconn’s possible pivot

(page 2 of 2)

Which report is correct? Given the curious way in which the flurry of reports took place, it can be hard to know. This much, however, appears to be true:

  • Foxconn has invested about $200 million in Wisconsin so far, acquired several thousand acres of land, acquired property for innovation centers in Eau Claire, Green Bay, and Milwaukee, and forged relationships with many, if not most, academic institutions in the state.
  • Private and public economic development officials in Wisconsin have been told by Foxconn’s No. 2 executive that work will proceed over the next 18 months in Racine County on a liquid crystal module packaging plant; a high-precision molding factory; a system integration assembly facility; a rapid prototyping center; a research-and-development center; a high-performance data center; and a town center to support employees in Mount Pleasant.
  • A contract negotiated by the state of Wisconsin and Foxconn remains in place, setting out tiered goals for job creation, salary levels, and capital investment in exchange for state tax credits. The contract is structured in an “all or nothing” way that means tax credits are not paid each year unless annual goals are met in their entirety. For example, Foxconn didn’t get any tax credits for the 2018 year because it fell short of hiring enough people.

Foxconn’s footprint in Wisconsin may eventually be that of a diversified company with interests in research and development, engineering, advanced screens for industries such as aviation and autonomous vehicles, medical imaging, high-throughput computing, robotics, sustainable systems, and other technologies consistent with what Wisconsin does well.

Will that result in 13,000 jobs and investments of $10 billion? No one knows, probably even those inside Foxconn. The only thing that seems certain is that state taxpayers are protected under ever changing global and market scenarios that have little or nothing to do with events in Wisconsin.

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About This Blog

Tom Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal.

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