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'Foxconned' author says state financial woes and political controversy over the Racine County Foxconn project may not be over

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Kobe Brown
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WUWM
One of the buildings at the Foxconn complex in Mount Pleasant.

The Foxconn manufacturing project in Racine County has been one of the most politically explosive stories in Wisconsin over the last five years. While state incentives for the Taiwan-based technology company to create jobs and invest here have been scaled back, the author of a new book argues Foxconn could still have a significant impact on the economy and political leadership.

Madison-based freelance journalist Lawrence Tabak is author of 'Foxconned: Imaginary Jobs, Bulldozed Homes, and the Sacking of Local Government.' He told WUWM's Chuck Quirmbach that he was partly inspired to write the book after witnessing decades of manufacturing job loss in the Midwest, and the subsequent push by elected officials to provide incentives for other manufacturers to locate in the region.

Tabak contends such inter-state competition is bad for taxpayers. He also says depending on what happens with the Foxconn complex in Mount Pleasant, state taxpayers could be financially on the hook to help reimburse borrowing that was done to pay for local infrastructure near the complex.

Tabak also says the fight over Foxconn could be an issue in the 2022 race for governor in Wisconsin, especially if former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch keeps campaigning in the '22 GOP gubernatorial primary.

The author says Kleefisch and other members of the administration of then-Gov. Scott Walker were "all-in" on Foxconn, while Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has since reduced the amount of state support Foxconn could receive.

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