Wisconsin Senate hesitant on Trump-backed Foxconn deal

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President Trump took to Twitter gleefully last month to tout his bringing thousands of jobs to the state of Wisconsin after a deal with Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, to build an LCD plant in the southeastern portion of the state was finalized.

The plant will include not only a factory, but a “virtual village,” with stories and housing, and will cover at least 1,000 acres.  The factory is projected to be three times the size of the Pentagon, the Journal Sentinel reported. It will initially employ 3,000 workers when it first opens.

In addition to the eventual factory jobs, the construction phase alone promises to provide over 10,000 jobs each year during the four-years it will take to build it. The actual site for the new project has not been chosen yet, officials reported.

“Today we’re announcing the single largest economic development project in the history of Wisconsin and one of the largest in the history of this country,” said Governor Scott Walker, who called it the largest job creation project in the nation in an undeveloped greenfield. “This is literally number one.”

But Wisconsin legislators, while excited at the prospect of the growth offered through the deal, are hesitant to give the $3 billion incentive package their blessing without examining the details. Republican state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said on Twitter that meetings with other Wisconsin officials have been productive, but that he needs time to do his “due diligence” on the deal.

Foxconn’s chairman Terry Gou sold President Trump, Vice President Pence, and House Speaker Ryan on the deal’s upside in a July meeting, noting a $10 billion investment would bring a minimum of 3,000 jobs to the state. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said that the agreement could increase to 13,000 jobs, with 22,000 indirectly induced jobs and 10,000 construction jobs.

But, as is the case with any big project, the deal has since been torn apart logistically from every angle. Legislators claim that, given the level of the investment, ground wouldn’t be broken until the 2040s at the earliest.

But Governor Walker doesn’t plan to let such a good deal for his state fail, and said it would eventually get done.

“Governor Walker is committed to working with members of both parties in the Assembly and Senate to ensure Wisconsin takes advantage of the opportunity to create 13,000 jobs,” a spokesperson said.

“Thank you Foxconn, for investing $10 BILLION DOLLARS with the potential for up to 13K new jobs in Wisconsin! MadeInTheUSA” the president tweeted last month.

Foxconn employs approximately 700,000 people in China, and the company’s total revenue for 2016 was about $135 billion. The U.S. deal was negotiated by a team led by President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, reported The Hill. The Journal Sentinel also reported that Walker, Ryan and Trump have each met with Gou and other Foxconn executives over recent months.

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