Friday, April 27, 2018

Fox-con slams full speed ahead, so GOP can keep the wreck from being avoided

This week featured Scott Walker's DNR rubber-stamping Foxconn's plans to take 7 million gallons of Lake Michigan water, moving this boondoggle onto the fast-track. As part of the PR offensive, officials from Racine County, Foxconn and Foxconn’s contractors held a commercial groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday (with little public notification) to officially hand over nearly 800 acres of land from the Village of Mount Pleasant to Foxconn. The event allowed the chance to discuss the large excavation project that will lead to the Foxconn campus, which Foxconn's main contractor claims will mostly be done by Wisconsin firms and workers.
Also on Thursday, Foxconn, M+W and Gilbane also announced that 90 percent of the contractors for the initial site work are from Wisconsin, including 10 percent by Racine County-based firms. Ten percent are minority, veteran and/or woman owned.

“We are committed to and passionate about putting Wisconsin first,” said Adam Jelen, senior vice president, Wisconsin, for Gilbane Building Co. “Right out of the gate, these first bid awards reflect our passion for building capacity in local workforce and businesses.”
OOOOH! 10% will go to local firms, and to firms that aren’t run by white men? Transformative, I tell you!

Does anyone think those other Wisconsin firms wouldn’t be getting business if it wasn’t for Foxconn? I mean, according to the Walker Administration’s stats, manufacturers have been hiring everywhere in the last 6 months before one bit of dirt is turned on Foxconn! (yes, the Walker Administration's manufacturing jobs number is bullshit, but the double-talk is amazing)

The massive first phase of the project will take place over the next 16 months, and turn the farm fields and residences in the area near Mount Pleasant into a place that can handle a massive manufacturing facility.
Jelen said the first phase of bidding totals about $100 million in contracts to Wisconsin businesses spread across 25-30 Wisconsin companies for site development work on phase one of the Foxconn Science and Technology Park.

He explained that the first phase will consist of a massive excavation of about 4 million cubic yards of soil, erosion control and stormwater management to get the site ready for the next steps of the infrastructure. That amount of soil is the equivalent of a National Football League field 625 yards deep, he said.

“The early development work will have about 500,000 work hours on site with a peak of 400 workers and create 800 direct and indirect jobs,” he said, stretching into August 2019.
Remember that 15% of these costs get kicked back to Foxconn and their contractors by state taxpayers, due to the incentive package that was jammed through last year. You think our roads or services in other parts of the state could use $15 million to improve things? Not only would that direct public spending also get people hired, but all Wisconsinites could actually benefit from those improvements, instead of one foreign company.

And this type of tax-funded “capitalism” isn’t expected to just be connected to the Foxconn campus, but now is likely to extend to the indirect jobs that Walker and other GOP hacks have pointed to as a reason to support the Fox-con. That was made obvious in an article in Thursday’s Milwaukee Business Times from Arthur Thomas.
The economic impact study initially released to support the Foxconn project touted the prospect of 400 jobs at a glass manufacturing plant and ever since MMAC president Tim Sheehy mentioned the company’s name during public testimony, the expectation has been the glass supplier would be New York-based Corning Inc.

Wendell Weeks, Corning chairman and chief executive officer, said during an earnings call this week that the strategy the company has laid out makes it clear that “we weren’t going to put in new melting capacity for display unless we get two out of every three dollars from others and that we could keep 100 percent of the revenues and profits.”

The company’s first Gen 10.5 facility in Hefei, China was a $1.3 billion investment, but Corning contributed just $460 million after government and commercial incentives. Weeks was asked if Corning would require a similar financial split if it were building a facility in Wisconsin.

“We would apply that same rule to any LCD manufacturing anywhere in the world, because we believe it’s really important to preserve high returns on capital for our investors,” Weeks said. “If our customers want the leading player in the display industry to be with them, then they’re going to need to subsidize that for our shareholders. Wherever anybody is going to build, we’re going to apply that rule.”
Look at that statement from Corning CEO Weeks. He is openly admitting that corporate welfare is part of the company’s business model. And the article notes that Sheehy talked up the glass plant as a $1 billion investment, so if 2/3 of that is subsidized, that means Corning expects taxpayers to come up with $667 million on top of what they’re already shelling out for the Fox-con.

But maybe Foxconn will be nice enough to kick back some of its handouts from the state of Wisconsin, and send them to Corning to lessen the costs and make for a win-win for everyone and…..

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Had you going there for a second, didn’t I?

The Fox-con development is becoming even more of a theft in plain sight. And Walker and his corporate oligarch puppetmasters are putting their foot on the gas to have this thing go full-speed ahead, regardless of how badly is screws things up for everyone else. And the reason why is sickening.

Once Foxconn’s construction gets started, Walker and WMC and MMAC think it’ll be a lot harder for it to be stopped after the November 2018 elections, regardless of who is power, and leave the state with less of a chance to remove this albatross from the necks of state and local governments, because many of the costs of development will already be sunk in.

They’ll skip away with their massive handouts and profits from the Fox-con, and we’ll be left to pay for years and clean up the mess they leave behind. With corporatist garbage like this going on under the guise of “capitalism”, you wonder why younger generations are preferring socialism these days?


  1. Meawhile - the zoo interchange and the MU interchange soundbound to Chicago overpass are at a standstill.

  2. I drive between the Fox Valley and Chicago twice a week..Construction delays in Milwaukee and southbound between Milwaukee and Illinois border get worse each week. Four lanes down to two for 13 miles. Not sure what is Foxconned related vs something else. Looks like construction is years away from completion ensuring healthy campaign contributions to the Republican Party from the road builders. While roads in the rest of the state crumble.

    1. We do know that $252 million for I-94 South is part of the Fox-con. But we also know that this is to fast-track the work down there and likely will delay work between Milwaukee and Racine.

      That's on top of the upgraded county roads that Walker's DOT turned into state highways, and gave $134 million to roads in the Foxconn-sin region at the expense of state highways in the other 95% of the state.