Boots & Sabers

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0941, 16 Dec 19

Governor Seeks to Welch on Foxconn Deal

He seems determined to kill this economic engine.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers’ top aide warned Foxconn Technology Group last month that a scaled-down factory in Wisconsin won’t qualify for tax credits unless the Taiwanese electronics giant renegotiates with the state, letters Evers’ administration released Friday show.

The letters underscore a deepening schism between Evers and the world’s largest electronics provider. Foxconn counts Apple, Google and Amazon among its customers.

Foxconn originally proposed building a massive flat-screen plant in Mount Pleasant that would eventually employ 13,000 people. Enamored with the thought of a monumental economic boost going into the 2018 elections, then-Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislators approved an unprecedented $3 billion state incentives package in 2017 for the factory. Democrats complained at the time that Walker and the GOP were giving away too much for a project that might never materialize.


0941, 16 December 2019


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    This is what liberals do…kill prosperity.

    Liberals are the ultimate killjoy.

  2. Merlin

    Another flaming example of a lie told often enough becoming some folk’s reality. Buy into enough preferred lies and you’re living an alternate reality. You’d think that at some point Dem voters would tire of having their intelligence insulted on such a frequent basis, but apparently we’re still not there yet.

  3. steveegg

    Evers knows corporations don’t vote.  Either he wants no jobs and 13,000 or so on the government dole or he wants every one of those jobs unionized with a contractual obligation for at least 10% of the wages kicked back to him and the DPW (wholly-owned subsidiaries of WEAC).

  4. jsr

    Wait a minute.

    Foxconn isn’t building the factory that they had agreed to build but you think they should get the tax benefits without renegotiating the deal?  What’s next?  Give them the full benefits even if they don’t hire the full number of people?


  5. dad29

    There may be a point in Evers’ ranting having to do with the change in factory product.  And there may NOT.

    What is fascinating is the Democrats’ screeching about this deal from Day One.  They have NEVER conceded that it will be good for the State and many of its residents.  They only grudgingly conceded that FoxConn’s presence will generate additional factory employment from its suppliers, but screech that such additional economic activity cannot POSSIBLY make up for the tax credits.

    There are responsible economists who think the D party is all wet on the merits.

    This is the sort of insanity that the D party is displaying in Washington over the existence of Trump.   And I mean ‘insanity.’

  6. Jason

    Well said Dad.   While there needs to be some type of review and probably alteration to the original agreement,  the fact is that all Dems have been screaming bloody murder from day one.  Including the old fart up north.

  7. Le Roi du Nord

    So far foxconn has been more of a drag on state and local budgets, just take a look at all the $$$$ spent on infrastructure without much to show for it.

    And please read the attached article, and take note of the extensive bibliography included.  It isn’t Evers that is backing out of the deal, but rather foxconn .

  8. TEXAG

    The whole thing is a moot point until they earn enough revenue in the state to request a tax credit. They have spent a ton of money so far, moved a lot of dirt, employed designers, construction workers and realtors…and there will soon be a gigantic factory in place.  Leave it to Democrats to turn all that into a negative…hopefully, by the time they’re operational and generating revenue, the walking Corpse will be out of office!

  9. jonnyv

    Foxconn changed the plan, they need to update the contract. It is pretty simple.

    My guess is that they don’t really have a solid plan for their future at this site anymore, and they are dragging their feet. They probably fear that the deal they got for the original plan will not be nearly as beneficial as the deal they can get for whatever they come up with.

    From all accounts, the Evers administration has done their due diligence to reach out to Foxconn to accomplish this, and that the fault is now on Foxconn’s side. But, it sure sounds like some people here think that Evers should just keep handing them money without them fulfilling their side of the deal.

    Most Democrats were leery of this deal from the beginning. Whether it be the environmental impact or Foxconn’s history at other locations, there was always some hesitation. I personally felt that IF we got what they promised, the deal wouldn’t be harmful for WI and possibly beneficial even in the very long term. But so far, Foxconn hasn’t left many with an impression that they plan on hitting their initial goals.

    What looked like one of Walker’s biggest accomplishments could end up being a gigantic stain on his record.

  10. steveegg

    It is interesting how the actual contract is nowhere to be found, so one can lie like a rug about what is in it.  However, if the draft (courtesy The Wheeler Report) was not substantially changed, the credits are based solely on the number of jobs created and the amount of money invested, not on what “generation” the plant is.

    Indeed, while the contract does specify that “the Project” would include a “Generation 10.5” plant, Foxconn only needs to “(c)arry out the Project in good faith and substantially in accordance with the Recipients’ Application and the terms and conditions of this Agreement”.  Once the necessary co-located glass plant wasn’t going to be built, the “Gen 10.5” plant couldn’t be built.

    Now, Evers and his handlers could be angling to limit the “carry-forward” of missed tax incentives, but, assuming that Foxconn did indeed hit their hiring (and spending) goals, they have no legal basis to deny the tax credits.

  11. jonnyv

    steveegg, from reading that draft the fact that it isn’t a 10.5″ plant (o) is directly cited as “The Project” and included in the Whereas near the beginning. And I am willing to bet that it wouldn’t be a tough job for a lawyer to argue that side of the dispute.

    I don’t know what Evers is angling at, but I do think that Foxconn has an obligation to come back to the table based on wording of the draft.

    I am sure this will get drawn out for a while. Should be fun. Uggggh.

  12. dad29

    There are a lot of pixel-lawyers here, eh?  Why aren’t WE billing $650/hour for this expert advice?  Jiffy, we need you to come over here and confuse yourself with irrelevant questions!!

    JonnV, take a short drive down to the site and you can see one helluvalotta workers putting up a building.  That’s called “spending.”  FoxConn states that they have 500 active jobs there and that’s easy to believe when you see the work in progress.

    Yes, <strike>Maggie Gau</strike> Tony Evers will toss a lot of sand into the gears.  Perhaps he’ll persuade FoxConn to abandon the project as JonnV suggests.

    That will be a great moment for Maggie/Tony—but not for the State.  Figures.

  13. jonnyv

    Dad29, do you think that the credits should be given based on the current agreement? I am not a lawyer, but if the draft is accurate I can see a legit argument to be made against it. Less than a year after agreeing to one type of plant, they have changed their plans and won’t confirm their future plans.

    Those construction jobs are great for the short term, but they are not Foxconn employees. No one is doubting that they are building… something.

    Nothing would make me happier to see Foxconn fulfill their promise of the jobs, I just have little faith in them.

  14. dad29

    The term “up to” prefaces FC’s ‘investment’ and ‘number of jobs.’  Later, it includes language acknowledging the possibility of ‘market conditions’ and ‘labor supply’  changes which COULD affect the size of investment and labor force.

    That’s tied right into the ‘flexible’ tax-credit agreement–so both parties understand that $2.85BN is the maximum, not a guarantee.  Similarly, both parties understand it might not be $10BN investment, nor 13,000 jobs.

    Maggie/Tony would like to make a case out of very thin gruel, assuming the final contract is worded the same.

  15. jjf

    Dad29, how did you overcome your Natural Aversion to government subsidy and interference in the market?  Meditation?  Tightened the band on your MAGA hat?  And you’re saying all this fine contract language and due diligence was implied on Scott Walker’s cocktail napkin?

  16. dad29

    There you are, jiffy!!  Asking inane questions because you really wanted to be a lawyer, like your wife…..

    LeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeRoyyyyyyyyyy, perhaps you’ve heard of “relocation” as part of an offer of employment?  It’s really very common.

  17. MjM

    It’s simple.  The problem with the existing contract is that Hon Hai has been building a 260,000sqft “smart” factory to be operated by a different Hon Hai entity, Foxconn Industrial Internet, which is not an under SIO International and not a party to the contract. 

    Fii has nothing to do with glass, screens, G10 or G6 manufacturing.

    While the SIO G6 plant is still on track,  Fii specializes in industrial AI, servers,  and quirky things such as coffee kiosks and home security gadgets. Fii plans also call for a data center.

    It appears Hon Hai is trying to build out the site to house whatever random facilities, including empty buildings, and employees they want to stick in there to be able to claim the credits for all that random stuff ‘s costs under the contract.  This “random stuff” has been admitted to by Fii CBO Richard Vincent, who labeled the site a “mall” to which he hoped “to bring in other businesses to fill out the rest of the space.”

    One could say, “so what?”,  FxC is spending the money and jobs are jobs.  True, but that is not how contracts work.

    Building rent-a-space was not what the contract specified. 

    Any credit review should be applied to the G6 plant only.   And Hon Hai, et. al.,  needs to renegotiate the rest







  18. jjf

    There you are, Dad29, resorting to ad hominem because…  you don’t have an answer to your change of True Conservative Heart?

  19. Paul

    There’s no personal attack there, Foust.

    Dad29 is accurate. At least he didn’t mention how she was sanctioned twice for lying.

  20. dad29

    So happens a good friend was a very high-level electronics executive in the Far East (General Manager in Tokyo and later, Hong Kong,  for a Fortune 100 company).  I asked him what he thought of this, forwarding the link to the JS article.  Here’s a small part of his response.

    I have seen a number of these types of investments in the past.  It appears that FoxConn had the intention to have the state of the art facility in Wisconsin, and it could have run into some technical issues or supply side issues.  The net result is that either the project is delayed, or a Phase 1 and Phase 2 is developed with one technology originally and then the newer technology at some later date.

    It is most important for FoxConn and WEDC to meet and get on the same page.  It might mean less incentive to FoxConn along with less investment and less employment in Wisconsin.  But that is better than to allow this to drag on and both sides pointing the finger at each other.  That is not the way a new business should start, because it is only down hill for both FoxConn and for Wisconsin.  And that is sad.

    FoxConn has a very good reputation in Asia, and Apple can testify to this.  However, when working with the Taiwanese, it is not the same as working with a company from Wisconsin.  I could tell a lot of stories about this, but the number one factor for working together is to communicate and get on the same page.  It is a shame that WEDC is being highly legalistic in the press instead of negotiating whatever needs to be adjusted.

    Maggie/Tony need to learn how to play with real businessmen from real companies, or they will do horrific damage to the State.

  21. jjf

    I’m shocked that a “very high-level electronics executive” doesn’t know Foxconn’s track record on finagling deals like this.  Oh, wait, he’s in marketing you say?  And then he suggests the government should simply do whatever the big foreign company wants?  Gosh, Dad29, I didn’t know you were such a fierce opponent of the free market.

  22. dad29

    Actually, he knows quite a bit about FC and–as he clearly states–they have a good reputation.  By the way, who said “marketing”?  And who said “…do whatever the big company wants….”?

    Jiffy, you’ll never be a lawyer if you can’t read.

    By the way, I think “free market” is good–within limits.  Sad that you don’t really get any of that at all.

  23. jjf

    I thought we were talking about Foxconn’s reputation in the USA.

    Communicate and get on the same page…  Who gets to change the terms?  Only Foxconn?  Telling them they’re not going to get their subsidies is a method of negotiation, isn’t it?

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