Wisconsin News Connection is here.
MADISON, Wis. - The proposed Foxconn deal, which would bring the Taiwanese high-tech manufacturer to Wisconsin, involves $3 billion in contributions from the state. The company has said it eventually will create 15,000 good-paying jobs, but many questions about the deal still remain.
Assembly Democrats have written a letter to Republican leadership asking for the Joint Finance Committee to hold a public hearing on the proposed legislation, focusing on the long-term fiscal implications for Wisconsin taxpayers. "We have a lot more questions," said Rep. Diane Hesselbein, D-Middleton, the assistant House minority leader, "We have so many amendments that we want to make, especially regarding the environment, the jobs. We heard a lot of things in committee about promises of how much these jobs would pay, but that's not in the legislation itself." The Democrats acknowledge that the Foxconn deal could be an exciting opportunity for the state, but want to know more about the financial and environmental concessions that may be given to Foxconn to build a huge, high-tech plant in the state. Hesselbein said the state budget already is more than a month overdue, and noted that Wisconsin is one of only two states in the union that haven't passed a budget. She said too many school districts in the state are in financial limbo right now. "We really need to pass a budget so that schools know what they're going to be getting for next month when school starts, and then look at Foxconn a little bit later," she said. "But we need to slow this process down and hear from more Wisconsinites." She said the Foxconn deal needs a full public hearing and a full fiscal analysis.
The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau has not had time to properly analyze and score the bill. "We really need to wait for their full analysis and allow our budget committee, the Joint Finance Committee, the opportunity to take a deliberative and thorough look at what effect this proposal will have on Wisconsin's future state budgets," Hesselbein said. "This is a huge 'ask' for the state of Wisconsin, and we really need to be thoughtful and we need to slow this process down." She said voting on this bill without knowing its full fiscal impact doesn't make sense.
The legislation is online at legis.wisconsin.gov.