Graham Kilmer

Foxconn Signing Is a Love Fest

Walker rhapsodizes about the deal, and welcomes workers from Illinois.

By - Nov 13th, 2017 05:25 pm
Foxconn signing. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Foxconn signing. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

The agreement on tax incentives between the State of Wisconsin and Taiwanese technology firm Foxconn was officially signed Friday, with a super excited Gov. Scott Walker leading the celebrations. The official signing was delayed nearly a month after major problems with the contract surfaced while the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation looked it over.

While there are signs that Gov. Scott is downplaying the Foxconn deal outside Southeastern Wisconsin, that hasn’t been the case in the region where the plant will be built. Thus, in a style that has become typical of announcements for this project, the signing was performed with much fanfare and a slew of speakers.

It was held in Fortaleza Hall on the campus of SC Johnson’s corporate office, and the company’s CEO Fisk Johnson opened the round of speeches. He was followed by area congressman and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who called the project a turning point and said it was an achievement ensuring a brilliant and bright future for the children of southeastern Wisconsin.

Ryan offered thanks to President Donald Trump for his leadership on the deal and to Walker, as well as the Chairman of Foxconn, Terry Gou, while introducing him and noting “his enthusiasm for workers having good jobs,” and for technology and the American economy.

Gou previewed some of the technology that will be built and or assembled at the plant. The tech to be produced will center around 8k resolution and 5g network technology — the applications of which will be found in televisions, endoscopic healthcare equipment and high level facial recognition for surveillance systems.

The size of the plant was also noted with gusto. A favorite punchline at previous events was to describe the plant’s size as equivalent to 11 Lambeau Fields, but the new comparison is 15 Lambeau Fields.

And now that problems with the agreement are solved, the final contract sees Foxconn eligible for up to $2.85 billion on tax credits related to construction and manufacturing, plus a sales tax exemption that brings the total to $3 billion. Meanwhile the promised plant has shrunk in value from $10 billion to $9 billion. And in the event the company defaults on the agreement, Chairman Gou will personally assume a portion of the refund, along with two other guarantors.

Gov. Walker. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Gov. Walker. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Walker closed out the show Friday with an excited speech in the style of an auctioneer. At one point, fully aware of the breathlessness of his speech, he said, “My father was a preacher, so I’m just getting started.” At another point he talked about how much he liked hawking the products Foxconn produces now that they will be produced in Wisconsin. “I could go on a sales pitch about this around the world,” he said.

Walker was speaking to a room of a couple hundred people, mostly men in suits: business persons, state and local politicians, university chancellors, Foxconn employees and many others anxiously awaiting the private and public cash likely to flow into Racine. Walker’s remarks sounded and felt like a campaign speech, as he ebulliently touted the best case scenario job projections of 13,000 factory jobs, 10,000 construction jobs and 22,000 jobs at spin-off businesses.

Opponents of the deal, like Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers, have questioned how many jobs will go to out-of-state workers.  That earned this riposte from Walker: “Will there be workers from Illinois? Doggone hope there are. We need them.”

4 thoughts on “Foxconn Signing Is a Love Fest”

  1. WashCoRepub says:

    Thanks for the fantastic pictures, Graham! Looks like you were seated towards the back, but I’m sure you did the best you could. Great to see Governor Walker charged up about this tremendous opportunity for our state. Pretty cool to read about Wisconsin being on the cutting edge of next-gen display technology!

  2. Terry says:

    What a tragedy for the state. Career politician and big government moocher Scott Walker sold out Wisconsin and billions in our tax dollars for a few soon to be automated away or innovated away slave wage jobs to a foreign company. Crony capitalism and corporate welfare at its very worst. What a tragedy for the state but especially northern Wisconsin where unemployment, poverty and hopelessness abound. This is what happens Wisconsin when you let career politician and life long big government moocher like Walker, who has never worked a single day in his adult life in the free market or private sector make your “business” deals for you. And now this charlatan wants to be governor for life? Of course he does, he couldn’t make it 5 minutes in the private sector! It’s time to tell Walker to take a hike.

  3. John Casper says:

    WashCoRepub, China and Taiwan own the technology. Wisconsin taxpayers are giving them $3 billion in welfare. Gov. Walker confirmed a two-tiered judiciary, one for Foxconn, one for everyone else. Foxconn gets to socialize the risks and costs of damage to fresh water onto the taxpayers.

    What are you happy about?

  4. Terry says:

    @John Casper, I think WashCoRepub thinks “next gen display technology” is that etch-a-sketch from his childhood…Sad to see so many ignorant gullible people getting taken advantage of in Wisconsin. Career politician and big governmemt moocher Scott Walker failed at creating 250k jobs so he tried to buy a few low pay wage slave jobs from a foreign company with 3 Billion in our tax dollars so he could run on the platform that he is a “job creator.” He isn’t. Fire Walker. Legalize marijuana.

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