Wisconsin

Podcast: Interview with Gov. Scott Walker about Foxconn Deal

Policy

Media Trackers Communications Director Jerry Bader interviewed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker the morning after the announcement that Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn would invest $10 billion for a new 1,000 acre campus in southeastern Wisconsin. The main plant, which Foxconn hopes to open by 2020, will have a shop floor of over 20 million square feet; an area equivalent of 11 Lambeau Fields.

Why Wisconsin?

Walker: Oh, a whole bunch of things. But the biggest thing is we’re ready.

 

Bader: A conservative friend (who the governor knows) I spoke with this week was very skeptical as to whether this will really happen. He asked me “why Wisconsin?”

Walker: That person who you reference maybe thinking about where Wisconsin was in the past. Think about in 2010 when I was running for to be your governor in this state; the governor for all the people in this state. Wisconsin ranked in the bottom 10 states in the nation for business according to “Chief Executive” magazine.

 

This year, for the first time ever in our history, we now rank as a “Top Ten” state when it comes to business and I think it’s a series of things. It’s, you know, it’s the work we’ve done. Not just me, but the legislature, with our Cabinet, with our team, with a lot of great local partners, to folks in the private sector. But we’ve cut taxes. By this budget it will be cumulatively about $8 billion. We’ve reined in regulation. We’ve stopped frivolous lawsuits. We’ve put massive improvement into improving our work force. We’ve passed right-to-work which wasn’t the single factor, but clearly, had we not had right-to-work, we wouldn’t have been on the list for consideration.

 

We’ve done all these things and then it was a combination of being ready and being at the right place at the right time.

What must Foxconn do to get the $3 billion in tax credits?

Walker: We have claw backs in this. So not only do they have to hit the mark to get their tax credits, but there’s also claw backs. They get the $3 billion over 15 years. They have to hit the mark  on the investment [$10 billion]. They have to hit the mark on the job credits, but then there’s also claw backs so that they have to be there. And Walker told Bader that Foxconn must create 13,000 jobs to qualify for the credits.

 

These aren’t just any old jobs, these are jobs that pay more than $53,000 on average, per year. Plus they have benefits. These are everything from skilled workers to engineers. Part of our process in courting Foxconn has been bringing in state leaders and local leaders from our technical college systems to the University of Wisconsin campuses. There are going to have to be significant programs put in place to target training to get up to the number of people they’re going to need from everything from engineering to down to the skilled trade positions.

You can listen to the full interview at the link above.

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