In 2017, Foxconn, a massive Taiwanese electronics company, had promised to build a huge factory in Wisconsin that would provide 13,000 new jobs in exchange for tax breaks and other incentives.
The company has built the factory, but it has not provided any jobs. Officials are asking: Where are the jobs, and what is being produced?
The Taiwanese electronics giant vowed to build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin, and they claimed that the factory would employ 13,000 people to make LCD TV screens. In exchange for building the factory, the state government offered the company incentives worth more than $4 billion, $3 billion of which were refundable tax credits.
In June of 2018, President Donald Trump, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, and former Wisconsin officials met on what would be the site of a 20-million square foot complex. However, less than a year later, in 2019, the company announced that it would not be building the plant after all.
After the announcement, President Trump stepped in to talk to CEO Gou, and according to him, got the company to agree to go forward with the previous plans.
Now, Foxconn has built the factory in Wisconsin, but it seems that’s all they did.
The Verge posted a story on Wednesday evening, revealing that the factory is just for show.
According to the Verge, Foxconn did not build the facility that it had promised. The factory was supposed to be a giant Gen 10.5 LCD facility for making TV screens, but instead, the electronics company built a “smaller Gen 6 LCD factory” that “shows no signs of manufacturing LCDs in the foreseeable future and ‘may be better suited for demonstration purposes.’”
Additionally, the building is only 1/20th the size of what was promised initially. It’s not even being used for what the stated purpose was.
According to the Verge, Foxconn got a permit to “change its intended use from manufacturing to storage.” The company has also not yet ordered the necessary equipment for making LCDs.
As for the 13,000 jobs that the company promised in 2017, the number of people hired by the facility doesn’t even come anywhere close to it.
By the end of 2019, the company had hired only 281 people who were supposedly qualified to meet the state’s terms. Today, many of those employees have already been laid off, said the Verge.
The Verge cited a state report that said, “Taxpayers fully performed their side of the agreement to date, while the Recipients have not,” before adding that “state taxpayers have spent as much if not more than” Foxconn has on its facility.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation was assigned to oversee the Foxconn deal. Last week, the WEDC elected for the electronics company to be denied the first installment of the $3 billion in refundable tax credits.
According to the WEDC, Foxconn refused to negotiate a revision of the contract despite the repeated warnings that its current project violates the state’s agreement. The company’s project is ineligible for the subsidies, but they refuse to negotiate.
Foxconn reportedly told the Verge that it is committed to making things work in Wisconsin, but it also said that the state’s decision to deny some subsidies “threatens the good faith negotiations” over a new contract.
“Foxconn will work as a partner with those who treat the company as a partner,” Gou wrote in a statement. “Foxconn will remain committed to the completion and continued expansion of our project and investment in Wisconsin as long as policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels remain committed to Foxconn and the very important technology development goals driving the company’s investments, as President Trump has done.”
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