Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn) and its general contractor, M+W | Gilbane (Gilbane), announced today a list of 28 subcontractors selected to conduct site development work for Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park, its advanced display fabrication facility and research and development campus in Racine, Wisconsin. All but one of the companies named are based in Wisconsin, the other is an Illinois-based company. The contracts awarded have a total value of $100 million.WOW! 800 direct and indirect jobs! On a facility that is projected to cost taxpayers $1.5 billion when it is completely built.
“We are proud to continue to deliver on our ‘Wisconsin First’ commitment through our partnership with companies across the state,” said Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Founder and CEO Terry Gou. “As we actively move forward with construction of this project, we look forward to partnering with additional Wisconsin companies as we begin to create 13,000 jobs and build the foundation for the robust AI 8K+5G ecosystem that Foxconn is building in Wisconsin to eventually reach all parts of the United States.”
The companies selected will draw their direct and indirect workforce from approximately 60 of the 72 counties across Wisconsin. The site development work includes erosion control, mass excavation, storm water management and testing work. This phase of the construction project will require 500,000 hours of work on site and create 800 direct and indirect jobs.
Look, this albatross is now known as the Fox-con not because we doubt that some jobs will be added for a few years as the factory gets built and opens. IT’S BECAUSE WE ARE THROWING AWAY BILLIONS OF TAX DOLLARS TO DO IT. And unlike a $100 million highway project, the overwhelmingly majority of us will not able to utilize and benefit from this project.
Related to that, as Walker galivanted around the state today (at taxpayer expense) to try to further promote this scam, I hope a simple question was asked.
“If unemployment is under 3% in Wisconsin (as your DWD claims, Governor), would these companies have had bids and business opportunities if it wasn’t for Foxconn?” (Spoiler: Answer is likely to be “yes.”
Follow up question. “If so, then what’s happening to those other bids and business opportunities in the rest of the state? Are they going unfilled because they don’t have tax subsidies behind them?”
See, that’s what can’t be missed regarding the Fox-con. How much is this REALLY adding to Wisconsin's economy vs what would happen otherwise? (likely answer: not much, if at all)
Meanwhile, the billions that are funneled down into one corner of the state come at the expense of the overwhelming majority of the rest of us. The roads in most of Wisconsin are falling apart due to underfunding (as Walker’s own DOT Secretary admitted recently) and the billion-dollar deficit that looms in the next budget as the bags of taxpayer cash go out to Foxconn and their subcontractors likely means more taxes and cuts for the rest of us starting next year.
Of course, my statements are assuming that the Foxconn facility actually opens. That’s now in jeopardy after Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed an appeal in federal court against the corrupt manner that Walker and fellow GOP crook Scott Pruitt reversed findings from Pruitt’s own agency, giving Foxconn the right to pollute the air 15 miles from the Illinois border.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan said she would file a lawsuit in the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the EPA’s ozone designations, saying its failure to name Racine County a “non-attainment” area puts people at risk.
“Despite its name, the Environmental Protection Agency now operates with total disregard for the quality of our air and water, and in this case, the U.S. EPA is putting a company’s profit ahead of our natural resources and the public’s health,” Madigan said in a statement.
The EPA, under Administrator Scott Pruitt, left Racine County off its non-attainment list despite an agency staff analysis of ozone levels in Wisconsin published in December, which found that the county’s air exceeded federal ozone limits.
That won't blow the other way, will it?
Madigan rightfully recognized that if Walker claimed that Chicago’s winds from the south were polluting SE Wisconsin’s air, then winds from the north could pollute the air of Illinois. For more on the corrupt Walker-Pruitt bargain, read Bruce Murphy’s excellent work on it in Urban Milwaukee.
And on a last note of Foxconn’s scams and sketchiness today, we have this research from One Wisconsin Now.
“Gov. Walker uses our state tax dollars to help the people who donate to his campaigns,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “And it looks like Foxconn and their general contractor are using the same playbook, rewarding donors who have made huge campaign donations to Gov. Walker with no-bid contracts.”Jeez, no wonder these guys got the job. And Wisconsin taxpayers are giving Gilbane a huge payback for their $359,000 investment into Scott Walker.
An initial review by One Wisconsin Now of the political donations of the owners and their families of businesses revealed today by the Rhode Island based general contractor Gilbane shows they have flooded Gov. Walker’s campaign coffers with at least $359,000.
Gilbane has a checkered ethical history that includes allegations of and settlements for improper bidding practices, pay for play, election law violations and labor law violations.
I’m so sick and tired of this PR BS that WisGOP is trying to pull with the Fox-con boondoggle. But please keep talking about it, Scotty. This thing is a complete LOSER outside of 262 Bubble World, and as the costs and corruptions of the Fox-con rack themselves up over the next 6 months, it drives your re-election chances further into the ground.