Wisconsin Republicans Blame State’s New Democratic Gov. For Foxxconn Debacle

Former Gov. Scott Walker.Screengrab/TODAY’S TMJ4/YouTube

Wisconsin Republicans are blaming their newly elected Democratic governor for the failure of the Foxconn deal.

Journal Sentinel has reported that Wisconsin Republican legislators are blaming Tony Evers, the newly elected governor, for Foxconn considering "dropping its plans to build an LCD panel manufacturing facility in Racine County."

"We don’t blame Foxconn for altering plans in an ever-changing technology business. It’s also not surprising Foxconn would rethink building a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin under the Evers Administration," Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a joint statement.

Foxconn, a Taiwanese tech company, said that its deliberations were due to high labor costs, not Evers’ election.

Louis Woo, a Foxconn official, said that the company was likely to hire mostly engineers and researchers instead of the manufacturing workforce the contract had originally promised. The contract gives "the company approximately $3 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies in exchange for the manufacturing facility and up to 13,000 jobs."

Republican leaders said that “the company is reacting to the wave of economic uncertainty” brought about by Evers, ignoring the company’s statement that it had concerns about the expensive price of making advanced TV screens in the U.S.

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, (D-Oshkosh), said that Republican leaders were trying to distract the taxpayers from the deal that Republicans supported.

"There is nothing more pathetic than legislative leaders responsible for selling taxpayers a bag of coal evading even a whiff of any responsibility and accountability," Hintz tweeted. "You own this and owe taxpayers answers."

A month ago, the Republican leaders passed legislation that "bars Evers from having authority over the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., which oversees and enforces the state’s contract with Foxconn, until later this year."

The legislation additionally reduced the power to appoint and oversee a state liason for Foxconn to the WEDC board instead of the Department of Administration, as had previously been the case.

Evers was critical of the Foxconn deal during his campaign.

Joel Brennan, the Department of Administration Secretary-designee, said the Evers administration is in “regular, weekly communication with senior leadership at Foxconn.”

"In the coming weeks, the Evers administration will continue to commit time, resources and personnel to ensure that the interests of Wisconsin workers and taxpayers are protected and promoted by our approach to the Foxconn project," Brennan said.