Friday, August 11, 2017

Fitz and Vos try to put lipstick on the Fox-con's pigs

Looks like Senate GOP Leader Scott Fitzgerald is starting to feel the heat from all sides on the Fox-con. Not only did Scotty Fitz feel the need to do multiple interviews on AM 1130 this week to try stay on the good side of the mouth-breathers, but it is obvious that the public isn’t buying the claims of Governor Walker and Foxconn that the development will actually yield a lot of jobs.

That blowback is clearly reaching GOP senators, so now Fitz would like to see “jobs” actually be central to the Foxconn deal.
"What if later on, a year from now nothing’s happened? Two years from now, still nothing’s happened and the jobs aren’t coming?" Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said on WISN-AM.

In comments to WISN and to Green Bay-area conservative radio host Jerry Bader, Fitzgerald said he would like to ensure Foxconn creates a certain number of jobs by certain deadlines.

But after meeting later Thursday with top appointees of Gov. Scott Walker, Fitzgerald said he believes that those additional job creation requirements could be handled through contract negotiations between Foxconn and the Walker administration. Lawmakers wouldn't need to put those benchmarks into the Foxconn legislation, which Fitzgerald said would likely pass his house.
As I’ve said before, if there’s nothing in writing that requires a minimum amount of jobs, what’s stopping Foxconn from automating most if not all of the whole plant after getting $1.5 billion in write-offs to build their campus? This has to be included in writing in the final bill.

Except that Marley and Stein’s article indicates that neither Walker nor the state’s GOP slush fund economic development organization want to put in minimum requirements for jobs with Foxconn.
Spokesmen for both Walker and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. argued Thursday against putting those requirements in the legislation, saying it would leave the state jobs agency with less flexibility in its talks with the company. WEDC is negotiating a contract with Foxconn to flesh out the memorandum of understanding that Walker and company chairman Terry Gou signed last month.

"It would weaken the state’s negotiating position to comment on the contract at this stage because it is not finalized," said Tom Evenson, a spokesman for the governor.
Major problem- why should we trust the Walker Administration and WEDC (who both are promoting the hell out of the Fox-con) to peform any oversight actions that might make themselves and Foxconn look bad in the near future? So they can’t be counted on to do anything to protect taxpayers’ dollars, and therefore WEDC needs to be taken out of the oversight equation when it comes to the Foxconn enterprise zone.

In another twist, Wispolitics says Fitz is changing his tactics from what he was indicating earlier this week, and now wants to run the Fox-con and the long-delayed state budget through the Joint Finance Committee in the next 2 weeks!
“I guess I’m moving more [from the] budget needs to get done first to: If we can get both of these things done simultaneously and get this stuff kicked out of the Finance Committee then we’d be in a good position,” he said.

Fitzgerald said again Thursday that he hasn’t yet asked Senate Republicans where they stand on the Foxconn bill and therefore isn’t sure whether there’s enough support for it. He said he wants senators to evaluate the bill after the “outstanding two hours” that they had Thursday to ask the Walker administration questions on it.
In a positive sign, Marley and Stein reported that Fitz wants to set some money aside in the 2017-19 budget to cover the revenue losses that will be coming with the Fox-con, and also to deal with the reality that the “Trump Boom” that was projected in January’s revenue figures isn’t likely to happen outside of Wall Street.

But in a bad sign, thee are increasing indications that Assembly Speaker Robbin’ Vos wants to shove through the Fox-con next week, and likely for selfish reasons. And says Fitz might not offer much formal resistance or modifications to the Fox-con in the Senate.

Fitzgerald said he sat down with Rep. Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee, who chairs the Assembly committee that’s working on the Foxconn bill, to go over amendments that the Assembly is working on ahead of a likely executive session next week.

He said Senate Republicans have decided to go through them individually and possibly offer some of their own, though he said he doesn’t expect the Senate to offer many amendments.

One of the Assembly amendments, he said, would locate Foxconn’s facility in Racine County, where Vos’ district is, but Fitzgerald said that he didn’t know the details.
Combined with the $252 million in borrowing for I-94 South related to the Foxconn site, and it’s becoming obvious that a big motivation behind the Fox-con is that it’s a major pork and kickback project for Robbin’ Vos. “Fiscal conservative” MY ASS!

If Robbin' is going to insist that this thing be in Racine County, then Assembly Dem Leader Peter Barca should get a clue and drop any help he might give for this, and not give these guys cover (if he does, the Dems should look for a new Assembly Leader).

Now it looks like an amendment package for Monday's committee meeting has now come out this Friday afternoon. At first glance, I'm not seeing a lot different than the original Fox-con other than some technical things on how local governments can use their TIF money, and these 3 budget-related items.

1. The $252 million in borrowing must be accompanied by federal money "awarded" to the project, and has to be approved by the Joint Finance Committee before it's released.

2. There would be $20 million set aside in the 2019-21 budget to work with local universities, colleges, technical schools and non-profits to come up with a plan on how to facilitate worker training and employment for suppliers, vendors and those companies impacted by the employment at Foxconn.

3. It requires WEDC to revoke certification for tax credits if Foxconn moves out in a certain amount of time. I'm not certain if that means they can't get further tax credits, or if they try to claw back up to $1.35 billion that had been sent out for "jobs" tax credits. This would still cause major financial problems for the state short-term, and it still doesn't say anything about minimum number of jobs or automation. And the window dressing aboutn"DNR oversight" is a joke as long as Walker and his Koch buddies are in charge.

But it's clear that Vos and the Assembly GOPs are also recognzing the polling which shows the public isn’t buying the Fox-con, and it’s obvious that they are scared that this thing is going to sink them in 2018, which is why they're going to try to put a face of "compromise" on this scam in the coming weeks.

Keep pounding them with the facts, and make them pay a price if they vote to approve this reckless giveaway.


  1. Keep your eye on Section 49: Creation of Ch 238.396(4)(b). Both versions read: “The corporation [WEDC] **MAY** require a business to repay any tax benefits the business claims for a year in which the business failed to maintain employment levels or a significant capital investment in property required by an agreement between the business and the corporation.”

    The way I read it this is the “clawback” provision, and it’s left up to the discretion of WEDC whether or not to do any actual clawing (brilliant!). The “shall revoke certification” language preceding it looks like it only stops future payments from going out the door. Dems need to introduce an amendment changing that one “May” to a “Shall” …and make anybody voting against it explain themselves and own it.

    1. Agree on that, and I'd go one step further and get WEDC out of the picture entirely. They are clearly compromised in this deal.