Foxconn Has Only Spent 1 Percent of Their Pledge in Wisconsin

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers recently announced this intention to renegotiate the state's deal with Foxconn that led to former Governor Scott Walker's political defeat and I think we can infer that Evers' decision was at least partially influenced by the company's latest filings.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Foxconn has spent only 1 percent of what they promised and created about 10 percent of the jobs they promised.

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.

One thing largely missing: Foxconn.

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.

The fact that Foxconn hired fewer than 200 people by the end of 2018 is a problem, but even if they had hired over 2,000 that could be considered a problem, too.

As you may recall, Foxconn and former Governor Scott Walker sold the public on a pledge to create 13,000 jobs largely occupied by in-state employees. Moreover, the company's pledge to hire 2,000 people by the end of this year is also a retreat from an initial pledge to hire 3,000.

It's possible that Governor Tony Evers' efforts will compel Foxconn to get in gear and follow through, but I feel justifiably skeptical and I think we're going to see the legality of the state's deal debated in court in the near future.

It's not entirely clear just how much of Scott Walker's deal the state can legally cancel.