MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled state legislature’s latest effort to muscle through the biggest subsidy by a U.S. state to a foreign company in American history includes a last-minute scheme to give Foxconn outrageous advantages in legal challenges brought by Wisconsin taxpayers footing the $3 billion tab. Under a last-second amendment, in cases brought against Foxconn any rulings could be immediately stayed and appeals would go directly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which is controlled by the Republicans following $9 million in spending by the pro-Foxconn Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.
“In a sea of sleaze surrounding the Foxconn scheme, this may be the worst thing yet,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Scott Walker and the Republicans are now taking away the right of Wisconsin taxpayers to have their day in court against a foreign company, no matter the harm that company inflicts on Wisconsin.”
Among the major concerns about the Foxconn scheme raised by One Wisconsin Now:
- The $3 billion would be the largest subsidy to a foreign company in American history.
- Figures from the independent Legislative Fiscal Bureau show that even with the rosiest projections and complete suspension of disbelief, it would take at least 25 years for the state to break even on the project. In fact, taxpayers will get $181 million a year in tax revenue but have to pay $250 million a year.
- Foxconn Chair Terry Gou, who has a net worth of well over $10 billion, referred to his employees as “animals” and had an actual zookeeper train his senior management.
- There is nothing in the proposal that guarantees that workers in the new plant come from Wisconsin, meaning taxpayers will be subsidizing jobs for workers from Illinois and other states.
- Debunked junk science produced to bolster Walker’s claims was authored by a professor who open records showed had begged the Walker administration for a job on Walker’s 71-day presidential campaign and who receives substantial funding from the foundation headed by Walker’s former campaign chair.
- Walker’s longtime campaign manager and former gubernatorial chief of staff was hired to do “public affairs and communications” for Foxconn’s lobbying outfit.