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Will Anything Change For Foxconn After Governor Walker Leaves Office?

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn Technology Group, speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony for the $10 billion Foxconn factory complex on June 28, 2018 in Mt. Pleasant, Wis.

Work is well underway at the Foxconn construction site in Racine County. The Taiwanese electronics giant continues to promise it will create up to 13,000 jobs at the huge LCD screen factory. Foxconn says it will invest $10 billion by 2020 to build a “world class” manufacturing campus.

But the project continues to have critics. 

Critics include those who doubt the jobs promise, and who point out that Foxconn has changed its tune regarding the size and type of screens it will build. Others question the wisdom of the $3 billion state incentives package that Gov. Scott Walker pushed to lure the company.

So, how will the Foxconn project fare when Walker leaves office next month?

In a recent Milwaukee-area stop, Gov.-elect Tony Evers said he’ll keep a close watch on the project.

“I’m just hopeful to be able to establish good working relations with the company so we know what to expect. Clearly, there’s a huge investment not only on their part but on the state’s part, so we have to make sure we have open relationships and a good working relationship, and if that’s the case, we won’t be surprised,” Evers said.

Racine Journal Times Reporter Ricardo Torres also has been keeping tabs on the Foxconn project. He says Evers has not said he’ll fight the Foxconn deal. However, Torres says Evers could ramp up oversight, using tools such as the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Natural Resources.

Torres says as work continues on the factory site, Foxconn’s critics remain loud. But he says the company’s backers remain hopeful it will keep its end of the bargain.

“What they always point to is the fact that Foxconn has to put in a certain amount of work first before they get any sort of tax credit. So right now, everyone’s just kind of waiting and see, hoping that it does live up to its potential,” Torres says.

Ann-Elise is WUWM's news director.
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