The Many Broken Promises of Foxconn
Why give away billions to a company that can’t be trusted?
When I first heard the news that Foxconn, a Taiwan-based multinational electronics manufacturing company, was looking to build a plant in Wisconsin, my reaction was to be cautious, but optimistic. As Foxconn is a company that is known for being a large contractor in the tech industry, I knew the idea of them setting up shop in Wisconsin to hire Wisconsin workers could be a lift for our economy and could result in the genesis of an emergent high-tech sector of our state.
However, my cautious optimism slowed when I learned about the impending deal between Foxconn and our Governor. Governor Walker wants to doll out a $3 billion taxpayer-funded bribe in order to get the company to do business in our state. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau calculated that Wisconsin would not receive a return on investment for Governor Walker’s deal until the year 2042. Walker’s deal seemed like a horrific deal for taxpayers, so my next question was, is it normal for Wisconsin to offer such a deal to a large company?
Furthermore, my cautious optimism went from a slow pedal to a screeching halt upon examining Foxconn’s recent history of deal making with other state and national governments in and out of the United States. According to research done by CNN Money:
In 2011, Foxconn promised $12 billion in investment for production of cell phones, tablets, and TV screens in Brazil. It still hasn’t happened.
In 2013, Foxconn promised to build a $30 million high-tech factory in Harrisburg, PA. It still hasn’t happened.
In 2014, Foxconn signed a deal with Indonesia that it would invest at least $1 billion over 3-5 years. It still hasn’t happened.
In 2015, Foxconn signed a Memorandum of Understanding with India that it would invest $5 billion and employ at least 50,000 new workers. The project still has not yet identified a construction spot.
Why are we working so hard to give away Billions, which we usually say we can’t find, to a foreign company with a sketchy history than our own Wisconsin companies and business owners who are already committed to our state?
I want to be very clear; everyone wants to create more jobs, and bringing a large company like Foxconn to our state could have the potential to be great for our economy, but we as legislators have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure this is an actual deal for Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the numbers reported to me not only fail to add up, they’re based on assumptions that Foxconn will never automate these jobs and hire all Wisconsin workers. If Foxconn fails to produce the 13,000 jobs they claim or workers in other states take these jobs because Wisconsinites aren’t prepared for them, the numbers go from questionable to no way in heaven. Governor Walker’s giveaway leaves taxpayers on the hook for decades, diverting away money that could have been spent on our budget-strapped public schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and struggling rural and urban communities – not to mention his deal threatens our clean water and air with special exclusions to our environmental protection laws.
If it is really true that Foxconn wants to come to Wisconsin because it believes in the potential of Wisconsin manufacturing and the value of the Wisconsin marketplace, then Wisconsin taxpayers do not need to bribe Foxconn with the largest corporate welfare give away in the history of our state. Foxconn should not have to become a line item on the Wisconsin State budget for the next 25 years.
- State Reviewing Foxconn Jobs Report - Erik Gunn - Jul 23rd, 2020
- Foxconn Hosts Smart Manufacturing Web Conference, Launches iAI Institute - Foxconn Technology Group - Jul 10th, 2020
- Foxconn Will Make 10K Ventilators - Corri Hess - Jun 19th, 2020
- Medtronic and Foxconn Partner to Increase Ventilator Production - Foxconn Technology Group - Jun 18th, 2020
- Foxconn Audit Delayed Two Months - Erik Gunn - Jun 3rd, 2020
- Back in the News: Foxconn’s Profits Plunge By 90% - Bruce Murphy - May 19th, 2020
- Foxconn to Assemble Procedural Masks in Wisconsin for Pandemic Relief - Foxconn Technology Group - Apr 20th, 2020
- Murphy’s Law: Foxconn Squeezes Evers - Bruce Murphy - Apr 15th, 2020
- Foxconn Says It Earned Tax Credits - Corri Hess - Apr 9th, 2020
- Back in the News: Foxconn Plant Will Make Ventilators - Bruce Murphy - Apr 8th, 2020
Read more about Foxconn Facility here