Foxconn chairman and CEO Terry Gou is visiting the White House Tuesday potentially to discuss the sprawling manufacturing facility the Taiwanese tech giant is building in southeastern Wisconsin, a new report says.I’m sure there's NOTHING being discussed at this meeting that the public should know about, are there? Like tariff waivers or how much more free infrastructure and tax giveaways that Chairman Gou is trying to gouge out of us?
The visit comes just days after President Donald Trump visited the Green Bay area to lay out his case for a second term as president that included no mention of the Foxconn facility — a project he says he helped engineer and once predicted it would be the "eighth wonder of the world."…
A spokesman for the White House did not immediately respond to questions about the visit. Foxconn downplayed the significance of the trip.
"As part of normal business operations, Foxconn regularly engages with its stakeholders in state and federal government," Foxconn officials said in a statement. "However, details of these interactions cannot be disclosed for privacy and commercial in confidence reasons.”
And what might have prompted this visit on such short notice? Possibly a report by Valerie Bauerlein that printed today in the Wall Street Journal which described the lack of progress of any kind of work being done by Foxconn in Racine County. That’s despite a lot of work that has been done for Foxconn in the area.
Contractors have bulldozed about 75 homes in Mount Pleasant and cleared hundreds of farmland acres. Crews are widening Interstate 94 from Milwaukee to the Illinois state line to accommodate driverless trucks and thousands of employees. Village and county taxpayers have borrowed around $350 million so far to buy land and make infrastructure improvements, from burying sewer pipes to laying storm drains.That sure isn't what we were being sold last year when this event happened in Racine County.
One thing largely missing: Foxconn.
The Wall Street Journal article notes that next to nothing has actually been put in by Foxconn in Racine County, despite the numerous headlines from our state' media.
As of Dec. 31, the Taiwanese manufacturing giant, famous as an Apple Inc. supplier, had spent only $99 million, 1% of its pledged investment, according to its latest state filings. The company projected as many as 2,080 in-state employees by the end of 2019 but had fewer than 200 at last year’s end, state filings show. The village is still awaiting factory building plans for review. Locals said Foxconn contractors have recently been scarce on the site.But what is very real are the costs to state and local taxpayers that have been sunk into this thing in the form of expanded highways, new electric and natural gas lines, and a $912 million TIF district set aside by the Village of Mount Pleasant.
The impact on Mount Pleasant, by contrast, is palpable. Its debt rating has slipped. Local politics has become fraught. Neighbors have fallen out over land seizures.
“At some point we’re talking about things that are just imaginary,” said Nick Demske, a commissioner in Racine County, where the plant is. “We’re pretending.”
The WSJ article also references an article from the Racine Journal-Times last week that noted because nothing was happening at the Foxconn site, the Village of Mount Pleasant was leasing back land that they had earlier bought from the same farmers for millions of dollars.
Esquire politics writer Charlie Pierce combined the Wall Street Journal’s article with what wasn’t said at Trump’s hate rally in GB this weekend, and arrived at an obvious conclusion.
As a parting gift to Wisconsin, Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus once hired by Koch Industries to manage that particular midwest subsidiary, gave away most of the southeast corner of the state to Foxconn, a Taiwanese tech giant that could see a sucker coming from an ocean away. You will note that, on his visit to Green Bay on Saturday, with Walker himself sucking up from the cheap seats, El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago didn't mention the Foxconn deal while patting himself on the back for his economic genius. There's a reason for that. The Foxconn deal is on its way to being a lemon of historic proportion.It’s especially ominous that Gou didn’t want Governor Tony Evers or other officials from Wisconsin to be in DC with Trump. Which sure makes this meeting look like a couple of rich-scumbags-turned-politicians trying to figure out a way to save face and keep the scam going for the 18 months before the US presidential election in 2020.
Even if Foxconn never creates another job in Racine County and fails to get a writeoff that way, the state of Wisconsin is still potentially on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars through a bailout package that would have to be given to Racine County and Mount Pleasant due to a provision in the Fox-con package that Walker signed into law 21 months ago. Which makes the Walker/WisGOP meme of “state taxpayers only pay if Foxconn creates jobs” A LOAD OF BUNK, and it needs to be reiterated at every chance.
As of today, Evers publicly is trying to hold out hope that something would happen with Foxconn in SE Wisconsin.
"We can ratchet down the rhetoric," @GovEvers says of Foxconn, saying he hopes GOP lawmakers will understand that he's not trying to get rid of the project. "I think we all know now that we all care about Foxconn, we all want it to succeed," he says.— Mary Spicuzza (@MSpicuzzaMJS) April 30, 2019
I don’t know why the Governor is helping Foxconn keep up the façade, unless he fears being blamed for the inevitable implosion of this white elephant. But if Evers keeps trying to work with Foxconn and put a positive face on this, he sets himself up to be stabbed in the back by both Foxconn and the GOP crooks who signed off on this deal.
So instead, Evers should go the other route and lay the hammer down on these scam artists. Take Foxconn to court and make them either reveal their real plans through discovery, or come to a quick settlement and have them GO AWAY for a fraction of what we might owe them if they get 520 employees “working” in the state this year.
Then Evers and economic development organizations can work to get a business in place down there that actually wants to produce something long-term in Wisconsin, and thinks of the state as something more than an election prop for Donald Trump. And then state taxpayers won't be stuck having to bail out the morons in Mount Pleasant and Racine County who built up more than they could afford before Foxconn had one product roll off the line.