Foxconn files report claiming more than 600 employees

    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)

    Nearly half of the employees Foxconn hired in 2019 came on board during the last month of the year, and about 60% were hired in November and December together, the company’s latest report on its Wisconsin hiring shows.

    The company submitted the required report to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. on April 1, as one of the conditions for state tax credits worth up to $3 billion that it was promised as a result of legislation passed late in former Gov. Scott Walker’s second term.  

    “We are pleased to report that at the end of the 2019 reporting year, Foxconn directly employed over 600 individuals, with more than 550 meeting the criteria for qualification as full-time employees under the WEDC pay-for-performance agreement, based on internal estimates,” Foxconn Technology Group vice chair Jay Lee wrote in the report cover letter to WEDC Secretary Missy Hughes.

    The dollar value of the tax credits the company receives is pegged both to the number of employees and the number of hours worked in the calendar year. The Wisconsin Examiner’s examination of the report’s listings found more than 400 hires for 2019, with almost 190 in December and more than 60 in November.

    The report is subject to auditing before the actual value of tax credits to be awarded is determined.

    In a column last month for Urban Milwaukee, editor Bruce Murphy raised the question of whether the late-in-the-year Foxconn hires might have been made to qualify the operation for another category of tax credits for capital investments.

    The long-term plans for Foxconn’s plant, located in the Racine County village of Mount Pleasant, have been in flux ever since work began on the project in 2017, and just what it will manufacture remains unclear. A recent announcement indicated the company now plans to make ventilators, demand for which has soared since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

    Erik Gunn
    Senior Reporter Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, along with related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.