MILWAUKEE — Foxconn officials on Friday, June 15 will announce plans for a new corporate headquarters in downtown Milwaukee.
According to a news release, a Friday morning news conference will include Dr. Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Founder and CEO Terry Gou; Alan Yeung, Foxconn director of strategic U.S. initiatives; Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett; Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton; and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.
It will take place near Van Buren and Wisconsin Avenue.
The news release says the announcement information about “hundreds of new jobs in downtown Milwaukee.”
MADISON, Wis. – Left-wing activists committed to doing whatever it takes to stop Foxconn Technology Group’s massive manufacturing campus in southeast Wisconsin are planning to rain on the tech giant’s ground-breaking picnic.
Organizers held a conference call Sunday evening to talk about their plans for a rally and demonstration on June 28, the day Foxconn is scheduled to hold its ground-breaking ceremony on its proposed $10 billion plant in Mount Pleasant. MacIver News Service obtained the call-in information and covered the planning session.
The idea, organizers say, is to assemble a coalition of diverse progressive groups – from environmental organizations to civil rights leaders to Foxconn-hating politicians. While each group will bring its own social and environmental complaints to the table, they will all rally around their abhorrence of the Foxconn economic development plan, according to the coalition-building plan.
“We want to stop it in any way we can,” a coalition member told participants on the call. “If we can’t stop it, we want to give them bad publicity. We want to be able to, like, make them aware that the community is aware. We want to show that, ‘Hey, we’re not going to give you an easy fight here.”
“Take a stand against Foxconn. For our fellow Wisconsinites, join the effort and help us SHUT FOXCONN DOWN,” a progressive coalition Facebook alert states.
The short-term goal is to stop Foxconn. The long-term mission is to fire up the liberal base to take out Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature that championed the largest development deal of its kind in U.S. history.
Let’s think this through… the focus of these liberal activist groups doesn’t appear to be anything specific about Foxconn. In fact, they admit that they all have different issues that range from opposition to corporate welfare to generic environmental issues to… whatever. The driving force of organizing is political opposition to Scott Walker and an attempt to drive turnout for whichever Democrat wins the chance to challenge him.
So there you have it. Liberals in Wisconsin are organizing to try to blunt the greatest single economic development in Wisconsin in a generation for the purpose of ousting the governor who had the temerity to foster economic activity in the state. They don’t give a darn about all of the construction workers, landscapers, HVAC workers, quarry workers, truck drivers, etc. who will build the $10 billion facility – much less the thousands of future Wisconsin workers who will fill those jobs with an average wage of $53k.
The Foxconn Technology Group campus under development has triggered its first growth-related project. On Thursday, Advocate Aurora Healthannounced its plans to construct a new hospital and medical office project in Mount Pleasant. Expected price tag is $250 million.
The health care company has been on an upward growth curve since the Advocate Health Care-Aurora Health Care merger in April. It has set its sights on expanding in the growing communities of southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois.
The Mount Pleasant hospital will be Advocate Aurora Health’s first move into Racine County. In February, however, pre-merger Aurora announced plans to build a surgery center and medical office building in Pleasant Prairie, which is expected to cost $130 million.
An Advocate Aurora Health executive told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the new hospital will be smaller than Aurora-built hospitals of the past decade in Grafton and Summit. Several new clinics in the Racine area are also part of the planned expansion.
My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:
While there is still a long way to go before Wisconsinites can evaluate the full impact of the Foxconn development, so far it is proving to be the economic boon for Wisconsin that Gov. Scott Walker and other supporters of the deal predicted. The official groundbreaking ceremony will be June 28, but the work has already started.
When Walker announced the deal with Foxconn, it marked the largest economic deal the state of Wisconsin had ever struck. Liberals vacillated between bemoaning corporate welfare and declaring that Wisconsin should have gotten a better deal. Conservatives cringed at the massive amount of tax dollars involved to lure one company to Wisconsin. Walker touted the deal as a transformational economic development that would benefit Wisconsin for generations. It is possible that everyone was right, but certainly Walker deserves credit for getting it done.
Before the first shovel could be put in the ground, nearly 500 subcontractors, suppliers, service providers, vendors and other companies attended an information session hosted by Foxconn for the projected $10 billion construction project. These businesses came from all over Wisconsin and the world for the chance to participate in one of the largest construction projects in United States history.
Late last month, Foxconn began announcing the contractors that they would use. True to their word, Foxconn officials strongly favored Wisconsin companies. Ninety percent of the contracts so far have been awarded to Wisconsin companies.
In just the first phase of the project, 27 Wisconsin companies and one Illinois company are sharing $100 million to do the preparation work for the site including excavation, erosion control, soil and water testing and stormwater management. A $100 million project would already be one of Wisconsin’s largest construction projects, and that is only 1 percent of what Foxconn is planning to spend to complete the project. Furthermore, as Walker predicted, the economic benefits are not limited to southeast Wisconsin. One of those Wisconsin companies already working is a Black River Falls construction company which has been tasked with moving about 325,000 dump truck loads of dirt and installing 120,000 linear feet of sewer. That company, Hoffman Construction, has indicated that they will need to hire about 150 additional seasonal workers to handle the work.
MJM Truckin’ LLC of Nekoosa, Wood County, Panacea Group LLC of Seymour, Outagamie County, and other businesses throughout the state are already seeing money flow from Foxconn into their businesses.
The reason that all of Wisconsin will benefit from Foxconn is simple. The Foxconn project is just so incredibly huge that southeast Wisconsin does not have the people or material necessary to complete it. Not only will Foxconn need to bring in workers from all over Wisconsin, they will have to bring people from all over the world to Wisconsin to work.
A study by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce estimates that Foxconn’s new Wisconsin plant will contribute about $51 billion to the state’s economy over the next 15 years. Calculating the exact economic impact of the massive Foxconn development is inherently difficult, but Wisconsin is already seeing a ripple effect spread across the state.
All of this positive development makes the stance of some of the Democratic candidates for governor even more puzzling. While some may disagree with the deal that Walker struck with Foxconn, it is done. The contracts are signed and both sides are obligated to honor their side of the agreement. Yet some of the Democratic candidates are hoping to see it all fail and rip a hole in Wisconsin’s economy as it does.
Rep. Dana Wachs has said “we will find a way to end it.” Matt Flynn said that he will end the deal, “no matter what.” Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and Rep. Kelda Roys want to renegotiate the deal — whatever that means. Try to imagine a world in which one of these Democrats wins the governor’s chair and uses it to douse the Foxconn economic fire with a vat of cold water. Not only would it hobble the Foxconn economic juggernaut, but it would neuter Wisconsin’s ability to attract business for decades to come. What company CEO in his or her right mind would make a long-term commitment to Wisconsin if all it takes is a new governor to tear up the contracts?
The argument over whether or not the Foxconn deal was a good one for Wisconsin will be decided in the years to come. One would hope that whatever one thought about the terms of the deal, we could all root for it to live up to its promise. Fortunately for our state’s economy, so far it has.
A Black River Falls construction company will be in on the ground floor — and even below that level — of the massive Foxconn Technology Group development planned in southeastern Wisconsin.
Foxconn and its general contractor, Gilbane Building Co., announced Monday that Hoffman Construction Co. of Black River Falls is one of 28 subcontractors selected to conduct site development work for the up to $10 billion flat-screen display panel plant in Mount Pleasant in Racine County. The contracts awarded have a total value of $100 million.
James Hoffman, president of Hoffman Construction, said he couldn’t reveal the size of the contract to be the lead excavation and storm water management contractor on the project, but he indicated the work will require moving about 4 million cubic yards of soil — the equivalent of 325,000 dump truck loads.
The project, which also involves installing 120,000 linear feet of underdrain and storm sewer, is scheduled for completion by Oct. 1.
“It’s a very significant business expansion for our company,” Hoffman said of the contract, adding that he expects it to result in hiring 150 more seasonal workers than usual this year.
Good news for Wisconsin. Wow. $100 million injection into the Wisconsin economy.
Operating bulldozers and other heavy equipment, crews Monday began shaping the site for Foxconn Technology Group’s planned, $10 billion manufacturing complex in Racine County.
More than 20 pieces of earth-moving equipment stood poised at the site along Braun Road in Mount Pleasant on Monday morning, as workers attended safety meetings and portable toilets were delivered.
By early afternoon, they had begun pushing serious loads of dirt — the most graphic sign to date that work is underway to build what Foxconn and government officials have said will be a 22-million-square-foot campus employing as many as 13,000 people.
A Foxconn spokesman said he anticipates a ceremonial groundbreaking within the next month or two, “when we can bring everyone together.”
Monday’s developments came as Foxconn and its general contractor, M+W | Gilbane, named 27 Wisconsin companies and one Illinois firm as subcontractors for the site-preparation work.
The companies — two of which were announced previously — have been awarded contracts totaling $100 million to handle such work as erosion control, mass excavation, stormwater management and testing. The site development phase of the project will require 500,000 hours of work and create 800 direct and indirect jobs, Foxconn said in a statement.
Fantastic. Emphasis mine.
Foxconn Technology Group will announce in the next two to three days the subcontractors for the start of its planned $10 billion project in Racine County, the company’s second-ranking executive said.
At the same time, Foxconn will start construction in two to three days on the first phase of the project, which will cover 752 acres in Mount Pleasant, Louis Woo said Wednesday afternoon in Milwaukee. He said the first phase will require 500,000 person-hours of work.
“We will let people know in the next couple days who will be the winners (of contracts),” Woo said. “I’m very pleased to let you know that 90 percent of the winners are from the state of Wisconsin.”
The economic impact of Foxconn will be felt well beyond SE Wisconsin.
A session is being held in Rhinelander next week for contractors, vendors, suppliers and professional services interested in competing for Foxconn contracts in the upcoming construction of the huge plant being built in southeastern Wisconsin.
The first phase of Foxconn building will begin this spring, involving 1,000 acres of site work, with the vertical building phase to begin late this year or early next year.
President of Grow North Economic Development Corporation, Vicky Oldham, talks about what will be going on…
“…anyone interested in the construction phase of multiple buildings. There’s also material procurement going on and logistics preparation. Any one interested in the logistics part, construction part or any type of building construction material that they would be interested in being a part of that would want to come and learn more…..”
While critics have said the deal will benefit southern Wisconsin the most, leaving citizens away from the economic zone still paying tax breaks for decades, Oldham thinks businesses away from the region will also benefit….
“there’s a though among some that feel that it might not impact northern Wisconsin as the southern part of the state. Their supply needs are so huge that it will have a rippling effect throughout the entire state…..”
STURTEVANT — Nearly 500 companies were represented Tuesday afternoon at an information session for hopeful Foxconn Technology Group construction-phase subcontractors, vendors, suppliers and professional services providers.
Two weeks ago, Taiwan-based Foxconn announced that it had selected M+W Gilbane, CH2M and The Sigma Group to serve as the lead contractors and designers for the $10 billion Science and Technology Park it plans to build in the southwestern part of Mount Pleasant.
Tuesday’s session, at Fountain Banquet Hall, 8505 Durand Ave., was led by Adam Jelen, senior vice president of Gilbane Building Co.’s Central Midwest Division; Allen Ware, vice president of M+W; and Matt Moroney, strategic economic initiatives director for the Wisconsin Department of Administration.
Foxconn has committed to spending about $1.4 billion with Wisconsin-based suppliers.
Granted, it is not from an uninterested source, but the numbers are not unreasonable considering the projected size of the facility.
A fully built Foxconn Technology Group plant would add $51.5 billion to Wisconsin’s gross domestic product over the 15 years the state pays incentives to the company, a new analysis by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce concludes.
That would equate to $18 of economic impact for every $1 spent by the state, the business group, which worked to help attract Foxconn, said.
Averaged over the 15 years, the MMAC’s estimate amounts to an additional $3.4 billion annually in state gross domestic product from Foxconn. That would tack another 1% onto Wisconsin’s current GDP of about $313 billion.
At least they can feel good about themselves, I guess.
Embedded in the development agreement is a Good Faith Hiring and Contracting Efforts clause, which states: “Developer agrees to exercise good faith in striving to hire, retain and contract, whenever reasonably possible, with qualified individuals and businesses residing and/or based in the County as well as veterans and minority-owned businesses.”
I went ahead and put in bold the ambiguous words and phrases that make this clause completely meaningless. Don’t get me wrong… I’m glad that it is unenforcable, but it’s fun to highlight the useless pandering of politicians.
Foxconn is pushing Wisconsin to the forefront of technology and innovation.
Spurred by Foxconn Technology Group and its plans for a mega-factory in Racine County, state highway planners are studying the possibility of including special lanes for driverless vehicles on I-94.
Should that come to pass — and at this point it is only something being contemplated — it would put Wisconsin in the vanguard of what many believe will be a key part of transportation in the future.
Driverless cars have been developed and are being tested, but there are no highway lanes dedicated to so-called autonomous vehicles, a spokesman with the U.S. Department of Transportation said.
One possibility, Sheehy said, would be driverless lanes between the Foxconn plant and Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport as a way to move supplies and products to and from the factory.
He said the fact that Foxconn executives brought up the use of autonomous vehicles indicated the vision the company is bringing to the project.
“We’re thinking about two years down the road; they’re thinking 20 years down the road,” Sheehy said.
Excellent. And the guarantee from Gou is icing on the cake.
The WEDC board approved the deal, 8-2, after protesters shouted at the agency’s directors as they voted to go into a private session. The pair of no votes came from state Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire), who is running in the Democratic primary for governor.
Gov. Scott Walker and Foxconn’s billionaire founder Terry Gou will sign the 29-page contract Friday afternoon at SC Johnson with U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of Janesville on hand.
Coming after critics pounded an initial deal with Foxconn Technology Group of Taiwan, the state’s final contract with the company includes greater requirements for job creation and calls for Foxconn and Gou to stand behind those job requirements to the tune of up to $500 million or more.
Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. head Mark Hogan said the Walker administration had always planned on tougher job requirements and didn’t add them in response to criticism. Hogan touted the personal guarantee from Gou as “highly unusual” but declined to say when the state had first asked Gou for it.
“It really speaks to the level of commitment and confidence that he has that this is going to be a great investment not just for him but for the state of Wisconsin,” Hogan said of Gou.
RACINE — Residents of the southeastern Wisconsin town where Foxconn Technology Group plans a massive display screen plant greeted the announcement Wednesday with excitement about the possible economic boost and wistfulness about the community’s changing landscape.
Foxconn announced the location of its planned factory after months of negotiations with the company and the village of Mount Pleasant in Racine County. The company has said it intends to build a campus with about 20 million square feet of office space over 1.56 square miles, eventually employing as many as 13,000 people to manufacture liquid-crystal display screens used on phones, televisions, computers and other devices.
Tammy Graceffa, 54, the owner of the Hiawatha Bar and Grill just south of the plant’s expected location, said the influx of workers and her land’s possible purchase could bring her financial gains. But still, she found the moment bittersweet.
“Where we grew up and were raised will no longer be farm fields. It will be concrete and industry,” she said. “You can’t go back and say, ‘This is the road where we used to play ball.'”
STURTEVANT — Gov. Scott Walker signed a $3 billion incentive package Monday for Foxconn Technology Group to build a flat-screen plant in southeastern Wisconsin, a deal he says will provide thousands of jobs for generations.
The governor signed the bill during a packed ceremony at Gateway Technical College in Sturtevant in Racine County, where the plant likely will be located. Legislators from around southeastern Wisconsin attended the signing. So did dozens of supporters.
“This is about far into the future,” Walker said. “This is about ensuring our children and our children’s children will have generational opportunities. This is one of those things that’s transformational.”
The governor told reporters after the signing that next steps call for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to finalize a contract with Foxconn to execute the provisions in the bill. WEDC’s board is scheduled to meet Sept. 28 to approve the agreement. Foxconn executives will then likely reveal the precise location for the plant before the contract is signed in early October.
Walker told WTMJ-AM radio on Monday morning that he expects groundbreaking this spring. Foxconn hopes to open the plant in 2020.
The state Senate today approved 20-13 an amended $3 billion incentive package for the Taiwanese tech company Foxconn, with GOP Sen. Robert Cowles opposing it and Dem Bob Wirch voting for the proposal.
Democrats called it a corporate giveaway to a foreign company, slamming projections that the state wouldn’t break even until fiscal year 2042-43 if Foxconn meets its promise to create 13,000 jobs, the vast majority filled by Wisconsin residents, and build its pledged $10 billion facility in southeastern Wisconsin.
But Republicans hailed it as a “transformational” deal that would make Wisconsin a leader in high-tech manufacturing — with spillover effects across the state and job opportunities for Wisconsin residents.
In a statement, Gov. Scott Walker thanked the Senate for supporting the bill and “opening the door to 13,000 good-paying, family-supporting jobs.”
I’m fascinated by the Democrats’ calculation to almost universally oppose this deal. It’s an extremely risky proposition that rests on the hope that the whole thing falls apart. But if it works out and there is a tremendous job-creating boom in SE Wisconsin, the Democrats can’t even try to claim any of the credit. They will just be the folks who fought against it.
If I were Governor Walker, I’d say, “bring it.”
MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker has called it a game-changer for Wisconsin, but all of the Democrats challenging him in the 2018 governor’s race are against the deal in which Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn would build a massive plant and receive cash payments from the state.
Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, who initially supported the jobs deal, is now against it. He and state schools Superintendent Tony Evers said they would try to renegotiate the agreement if elected governor. A third candidate has launched a petition asking the Wisconsin Senate to reject the $3 billion incentives package.
This is a very risky gamble for the Democrats. If the Foxconn deal falls apart and Wisconsin is our millions or billions of dollars, they they can say “I told you so.” But if it is a massive success and tens of thousands of Wisconsinites are getting jobs and the economy is booming, then they have completely kneecapped themselves. Even if it does fail, Walker can say that he was trying to bring jobs to Wisconsin while Democrats whined.
In any case, we likely won’t know the full results of this deal before the election next year. Democrats are going to run on a campaign of rooting for Wisconsin to fail.
My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:
After weeks of wrangling and a few modifications, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed a $3 billion incentive package for Foxconn to build a massive new plant in Wisconsin. Now it is up to the State Senate to follow the Assembly’s lead and bring Foxconn to Wisconsin.
To fiscal conservatives who desperately want a small, inexpensive, unintrusive government, the thought of massive corporate welfare to incent businesses to locate in Wisconsin is rather repugnant. Ideally, Wisconsin’s government would create an environment of low taxes, reasonable regulations, good infrastructure, etc., to make Wisconsin such an attractive place for business that taxpayer incentives would be rendered unnecessary.
But that is not the state we live in yet and the taxpayers have shown time and time again that they are willing to dole out corporate welfare if it for the overall betterment of Wisconsin. The measure has long since ceased to be, “should government do it?” It is now, simply, “is it a good deal for taxpayers?” The deal that Gov. Scott Walker and his staff negotiated with Foxconn and which was substantially passed by the State Assembly, is a good deal.
The structure of the Foxconn deal is relatively simple if the numbers are enormous. In exchange for Foxconn investing $10 billion in construction costs and eventually employing up to 13,000 people, Wisconsin taxpayers will give the company up to $2.85 billion in income and franchise tax credits and an additional $150 million in sales tax relief for construction materials. The total “cost” to taxpayers would be about $3 billion in waived taxes over 15 years.
In order to analyze any deal, you must weigh cost against benefit. In this case, the cost for taxpayers is $3 billion in waived taxes over the next 15 years. That is only really a cost in the eyes of a politician. Remember that if Foxconn does not build in Wisconsin, it will never buy the construction materials for which the state would have received $150 million in sales taxes. And if Foxconn does not build in Wisconsin, it will never generate the net income that would generate the $2.85 billion in income taxes. If Foxconn does not build in Wisconsin, the $3 billion in waived taxes will never exist. The only way that anyone can claim waived taxes to be a “cost” is if they presume that it was the government’s money in the first place.
The one caveat to that is that the bill passed by the Assembly does permit the state to grant tax credits to Foxconn in the form of a refund even if Foxconn does not have a tax liability. In this way, the incentives wouldfunction much like the Earned Income Tax Credit.
If this happens, it would indeed be a cash outlay from the taxpayers to Foxconn. We must demand vigilance from the state administrators of this deal to watch Foxconn closely to ensure that they are meeting their obligations to receive tax credits.
On the other side of the ledger, what benefit does Wisconsin get for its $3 billion in waived taxes? Foxconn is committing to spend $10 billion in construction costs to build a massive new facility. Most of that money will be spent in Wisconsin and employ thousands of Wisconsinites. After the facility is built, Foxconn will continue to spend hundreds of millions every year in Wisconsin to maintain and run the facility.
Foxconn also plans to directly employ 13,000 people at the facility at an average wage of $53,900. A facility of this size would also generate an estimated 22,000 supporting jobs. That is a tremendous number of Wisconsinites earning a family supporting wage. That is an enormous number of people buying homes, buying cars, buying groceries, going to entertainment events and spending money to live their lives in Wisconsin. The return on investment should not be measured in cash paid to the tax collectors, but in the cash put in the pockets of tens of thousands of Wisconsinites.
Beyond the direct investment by Foxconn, this deal would facilitate the transformational introduction of an entire industry to Wisconsin. Wisconsinites can reasonably expect that other manufacturers and supporting industries will follow in Foxconn’s wake to locate in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is standing at the precipice of a generational economic boon if we only have the courage to jump.
Is the Foxconn deal a risk? Of course it is. Any commercial enterprise is a risk. Wisconsin’s government must be vigilant in holding Foxconn to their commitments, and the deal is structured to cease taxpayer support if Foxconn reneges. But the cost of doing nothing is far greater for the future of Wisconsin than the cost of this deal.
The State Senate must step forward with their colleagues in the Assembly and close this deal. Wisconsin is waiting.
A massive manufacturing complex planned by Foxconn Technology Group could generate broad gains for Wisconsin “that go far beyond the direct job estimates and tax revenue costs which have dominated the recent discussion,” according to a report by a UW-Madison economist released Monday.
If the Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer employs 13,000 people in the state, the ripple effect could spawn an additional 19,000 to 26,000 jobs through growth from the company’s suppliers and other businesses in the region, said Noah Williams, director of the Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy.
That could mean a return of $3.90 for every $1 in state subsidy costs spent to lure Foxconn and its planned investment of up to $10 billion, Williams said in his report, which was commissioned by the Wisconsin Technology Council.