The confusion has swirled around the online producer Foxconn Technology Group's plans for a $ 10 billion campus in southeast Wisconsin that promised to bring 13,000 jobs – most of them have factory positions to build high-tech displays.
Wisconsin lawmakers offered up to $ 2.85 billion of incentives in 2017 to lure the world's largest electronics manufacturer to the state, sparking criticism that the state gave away too much money.
But Foxconn's plans were cast in doubt on Wednesday when an official said that the Taiwanese company relied on making LCD panels for the benefit of becoming a "technology hub" that mainly works for research, development and design. The company changed its course on Friday, saying it would go back to earlier plans to create the LCD panels after a conversation between Foxconn's president and President Donald Trump.
Foxconn's contradictory statements sparked a flurry of pointing among Wisconsin politicians this week. 1
A look at one of the requirements in their statement:
THE REQUIREMENT: "Not a dollar would be paid before jobs in the Foxconn development area were created. The incentive package is based on fulfilling the contract." – Vos and Fitzgerald in a statement Wednesday.
FACTS: The requirement is misleading.
Vos and Fitzgerald referred to the state's 15-year deal that gives Foxconn about $ 2.85 billion if the company meets capital investment and job targeting. The company did not meet the employment forecast of 260 employees last year, instead employing 178 employees, and did not take its first eligible state tax credit of up to $ 9.5 million. The state has not yet paid out work credits to Foxconn.
But the Republican leaders are leaving tens of millions as taxpayers have spent on the project in other ways.
As part of the Foxconn Act, 2017, the state agreed to make a $ 15 million contribution to the village of Mount Pleasant, where Foxconn is slated to open its three-phase project. This money was paid to the village between November 2017 and June 2018, according to the state's non-partisan legislative finance agency.
Mount Pleasant and Racine County officials agreed to spend as much as $ 764 million to help lure Foxconn to Wisconsin. So far, $ 190 million has been spent from the Village Fund dedicated to the project, according to public documents. (In 2017, Foxconn deposited $ 60 million in that account and will continue to make tax payments in the fund for future years based on the property value.)
Nearly $ 170 million of these funds were spent on buying land and moving people from their homes To make room for the project, offering $ 50,000 per country acre and paying 140 percent of the valued value for homes, according to country documents. Village officials have bought around 82 percent of the 2,873 acres Foxconn wants to build on for its three-phase project. The remaining $ 20 million has been spent on funding, legal costs, and sewage and water infrastructure costs for Foxconn, city documents for the AP show.
That expenses can also have consequences for state taxpayers if the Foxconn project is experiencing problems.
As part of the Foxconn agreement, Wisconsin lawmakers approved to pay up to 40 percent of the municipality's debt for the project, if requested to do so. Last year, the Legislative Tax Office estimated that for every $ 100 million local government borrowing and not being able to repay for the Foxconn project, the state could be on the hook for as much as $ 64 million when interest payments are included.
Credit Rating Moody's Investors Service noted the state's commitment to the Foxconn project in a statement Thursday, which predicts financial risks for Mount Pleasant, Racine County and Wisconsin.
"They offer this commitment that if the village gets into trouble, officials will do everything they can to ask the legislator for appropriate money to pay the debt service," said Moody's senior analyst Josh Grundleger.
Other taxpayer costs are more difficult to quantify, said Steven Deller, economist at the University of Wisconsin Madison, for example, the state has put labor to make the deal and consult with external lawyers for the project.
"When it comes to people hours, put this package together – is unpredictable – I don't think they have kept track of
Associated Press writer Scott Bauer in Madison contributed to this report.
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