Foxconn Still Trying To Tap Dance Around Its Ever-Shrinking Wisconsin Promises

from the words-are-but-wind dept

If you hadn't noticed by now, Trump and Paul Ryan's once-heralded Foxconn factory deal in Wisconsin quickly devolved into farce. The state originally promised Taiwan-based Foxconn a $3 billion state subsidy if the company invested $10 billion in a Wisconsin LCD panel plant that created 13,000 jobs. But as the subsidy grew to $4.5 billion the promised factory began to shrink further and further, to the point where nobody at this point is certain that anything meaningful is going to get built at all.

Reports last fall detailed the ever-shrinking nature of the deal, highlighting how Foxconn was using nonsense to justify its failure to follow through, showing that while the company hadn't built much of anything meaningful in the state, it was still routinely promising to deploy a "AI 8K+5G ecosystem" in the state to somehow make everything better. Those empty buzzwords were accompanied by the promise of fully staffed "innovation centers" around the state.

Back in March, reporters visited many of these innovation centers scattered around Wisconsin and found them to be largely empty. Apparently not liking the bad press, Foxconn executives like Alan Yeung attempted to claim that these centers were in fact not empty and that the reports contained “a lot of inaccuracies." But according to locals in the state these supposed innovation centers are, you'll perhaps be shocked to learn, still empty:

"One month after Yeung’s comments and promise of a correction, every innovation center in Wisconsin is still empty, according to public documents and sources involved with the innovation center process. Foxconn has yet to purchase the Madison building Yeung announced, according to Madison property records. No renovation or occupancy permits have been taken out for Foxconn’s Racine innovation center, though a permit has been taken out for work on the roof of another property Foxconn bought for “smart city” initiatives. There has been no activity in Foxconn’s Green Bay building, either."

So what are Wisconsin residents getting for their whopping $4.5 billion in taxpayer-fueled subsidies? It's still not clear. There are thoughts that the state may see some kind of factory, but it's going to be a far cry from what was originally promised, and there are still questions about whether the state will see even a fraction of the jobs that were originally promised:

"Even if Foxconn does build an LCD facility, many questions remain. The company’s current plan is to build a far smaller factory than it initially promised, one that will employ 1,500 people rather than over 10,000. The shortfall leaves both Foxconn and the state in a tricky position. Given the slower pace of hiring, it may be difficult for Foxconn to reach the hiring quotas needed to receive state subsidies. State and local governments, meanwhile, have been building infrastructure and acquiring land based on the original, far more ambitious plan.

Foxconn still seems to be claiming it will be hiring 13,000 workers in the state, but it's getting harder and harder to find anybody who actually believes them.

Filed Under: boondoggle, donald trump, paul ryan, wisconsin
Companies: foxconn


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  • icon
    smbryant (profile), 17 May 2019 @ 9:17pm

    The FoxCONN job is the only one Wisconsin is ever likely to see.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2019 @ 10:45pm

    And why should they through with the deal when the US is very openly waging a economic and social war on China?

    If i was China I would scrap the whole deal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 17 May 2019 @ 10:51pm

    Wrong question

    So what are Wisconsin residents getting for their whopping $4.5 billion in taxpayer-fueled subsidies?

    That's the wrong question. The correct question is: What are the politicians getting for a whopping $4.5 billion in Wisconsin taxpayer-fueled subsidies?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 18 May 2019 @ 10:35pm

    Wink, wink

    Politicians make agreement that benefits large corporation. They feel terrible about it. Really. Horrible. They promise it won't happen again. Trust them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2019 @ 5:41am

    As you well know, Foxconn doesn't get these subsidies if they don't create the jobs. You pretend the state is writing the company a check right now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2019 @ 7:33am

      Re:

      The point is ... they should not get any subsidy. If their business can not survive without the help from tax payers, then maybe they should simply go out of business. No big loss to the community.

      I find it interesting how captains of industry loudly proclaim their belief in personal responsibility and being self made all the while demanding subsidies from everyone or they will take their enterprise and go home. Given that most of the jobs they are using as a bribe are minimum wage and the city/state has temporarily forgone corporate taxation, the so called great deal really does not do much for the community, all it does it put your money in some rich asshole's pocket at everyone else's expense.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 20 May 2019 @ 9:52am

        Re: Re:

        It's a prisoner's dilemma. If everyone refused to give tax breaks, everyone would be better off. But if one state or city breaks ranks, they get the benefits (or at least they think they will get the benefits, which is enough to get them to do it).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2019 @ 11:57am

      Re:

      The state is spending money right now on "making ready" for Foxconn, regardless as to whether any subsidies are handed over. They are also wasting time, effort, and more money just by playing this game.

      I also wonder why Foxconn isn't suspected of spying for the Chinese government as well, but whatever.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tom (profile), 20 May 2019 @ 8:42am

    Turns out the real winners are the ones that lost the Foxcon and Amazon bidding wars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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