FoxConn deal appears to be dead

    Foxconn's groundbreaking ceremony in Wisconsin in June 2018, brought out then-U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, President Donald Trump, then-Gov. Scott Walker, Foxconn Founder and CEO Terry Gou and Christopher Murdock. The company can receive cash payments from the state because it has other refundable tax credits. It has no taxes to reduce because a manufacturing tax credit virtually eliminated them. (Photo courtesy of White House/Creative Commons)

    From Urban Milwaukee: On December 12 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did a story quoting Foxconn Vice Chairman Jay Lee that the company now had more than 520 employees in Wisconsin and would therefore be eligible for job tax credits for the 2019 year.

    In fact the company knew full well that the state wouldn’t be awarding any credits, because officials in the Evers administration determined the company was out of compliance with the contract signed in 2017 and had been telling Foxconn’s leaders this for nearly eight months. Indeed, Foxconn itself saw a problem with the contract and suggested renegotiations back in March, only to later back away from this.

    Lee, in short, was simply using the Journal Sentinel to try to put pressure on the state to award the credits. It may also have been an attempt to spin the media in a positive direction, in anticipation of a damning story published the day after the JS story by technology industry publication The Verge, which requested and reviewed correspondence between state officials and Foxconn, and found negotiations had broken down between the two parties.

    Wisconsin officials have repeatedly — and with growing urgency — warned Foxconn that its current project has veered far from what was described in the original deal and that the contract must be amended if the company is to receive subsidies.” the story noted. “Foxconn, however, has declined to amend the contract, and it indicated that it nevertheless intends to apply for tax credits.”

    The story shows a series of letters going back and forth between Foxconn and Gov. Tony Evers, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and particularly Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Joel Brennan, which addressed the question of rewriting the contract. “The project that they have right now is outside the bounds of the contract,” Brennan told The Verge. “They were continuously encouraged” to revise it, he noted  “It’s a relatively recent development, where they have said, ‘No, we don’t want to do anything with the contract.’ Our expectation has been, and continues to be, that they should want to come back and have discussions about this.”

    Read more at Urban Milwaukee