Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fox-con secrecy and WEDC arrogance continues

Put your shock face on! The Fox-con may have some details that need to be cleaned up.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. delayed a vote on a nearly $3 billion incentive package for Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn until November after an unspecified problem was discovered with the deal board members were set to vote on Tuesday.

Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, declined to describe the problem but characterized it as a “nuclear bomb” that, had it not been addressed, would have resulted in a contract that “would not have protected taxpayers whatsoever.”

WEDC board chairwoman Lisa Mauer confirmed the vote was pushed back because of a particular concern but also declined to provide specifics. She said it was detected late in the negotiating process.
Huh, maybe we should have had these details ironed out before our State Legislature agreed to send Foxconn $3 BILLION, eh? And you would think that the Village of Mount Pleasant and the rest of Racine County might want to know about this before they vote to give away hundreds of millions more in land, property taxes and infrastructure in the next month.

By the way, remember how Scott Walker and his WEDC lackeys claimed that the Legislature had to blast through the Fox-con by September 30? Weeks later, the same crew feels no need to reveal a final agreement between the state and Foxconn, and WEDC Chair Mark Hogan said yesterday the details are “very complex” and requires more time.

And there’s no oversight or input from the public on any of these details, so we’ll have the information sprung on us at the last minute with little ability to say “No.” In essence, Walker, WEDC and Foxconn put a gun to the heads of the legislators and the public and said “Promise us the money, and we’ll handle the rest later.”

In fact, the WEDC Board doesn’t even get to approve or veto the contract itself. Instead they are given an outline of the agreement, and give an up-or-down vote to allow the GOP hacks WEDC executives to finalize the deal with Foxconn.

The arrogance is so deep with this group that even members of the WEDC Board are being kept in the dark about the proposed agreement, let alone be allowed to ask questions of Foxconn themselves. Sen. Carpenter told reporters that drafts of the underwriting agreement were being changed one day before yesterday’s meeting, with little information being given to board members to figure out what exactly would or would not be allowed.
[Carpenter] said he raised several questions about language in the report. One issue he raised was the language didn’t appear to compel WEDC to rescind tax credits if the company wasn’t complying with the terms of the contract.

He said he asked for the vote to be delayed, but he didn’t learn it would be delayed until Tuesday morning after a separate issue that he had not raised was discovered by WEDC officials.
I know that closed sessions are supposed to be top-secret, but with state taxpayers being potentially on the hook for such a large price tag, don’t the people have a right to know what safeguards are (or more appropriately aren’t) being put in so we don’t get stuck losing tax revenues AND jobs?

We know the GOP appointees that control the WEDC Board won’t step up to do their duty to protect taxpayers and Racine County homeowners from being screwed by the Fox-con. So even if it violates the spirit of closed sessions, isn’t it time for the two Dems on the WEDC Board to go public with what this “nuclear bomb” is, and give us time to prepare and possibly mitigate the damage through further legislation or actions?

Let’s face it, if the Fox-con was a good deal for the state, they wouldn’t have had to create special laws for Foxconn’s enterprise zone, and the Walker Administration wouldn’t be trying to overpromise about how many jobs would be at Foxconn. Now add in that these guys are hiding all of the details of the publically-funded contract from the public and the WEDC Board?

The Fox-con already was slimy as hell (let's check out who's on the most recent donation list for Walker and WisGOP), but the secrecy makes it seem even worse. It’s a mode of operation that befits a Banana Republic(an), and not anything resembling American capitalism and government that we want to believe that we have.


  1. So they now want to delay the vote, when now there's overwhelming distrust of this deal, so that they'll vote on it when people are distracted by the whole holiday Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas consumer season?

    Seems much like the gameplan in DC that they're making to push through the destruction of net neutrality.

    Citizens be damned, it's money that matters...

    1. GOPs in DC and Madison sure are playing the "secrecy and distraction" game a lot these days, aren't they?

      Fun side note, WEDC has a follow-up meeting with the Audit Committee next week. Wonder how many,more grants they've lost or written off in the last few months?

  2. Actually the Village of Mount Pleasant and the people of Racine County can talk and be outraged by all the proceedings involving contracts and agreement secrecy but we have NO representation on any of this. Our government just pushes everything through and ignores us, laws and legalities be damned.

    1. The locals can tell Foxconn,to pay for their own infrastructure, or not give then a TID to avoid property taxes.

      Kenosha's Mayor implied that's what they did, although that could have been ass-covering. But the locals can always say NO when it comes to adding to the price tag.