Doubts stir up after Foxconn is welcomed to Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE -- Just one day after the ceremonial welcoming of Foxconn, people are focusing on the company itself and what it means to Wisconsin taxpayers.

A lot of fanfare over the Taiwan-based electronics company Foxconn occurred on Thursday, July 27th at the Milwaukee Art Museum as the prospect of it investing up to $10 billion in a massive facility in southeast Wisconsin will be bringing jobs along with it.

Governor Scott Walker said, "these 13,000 jobs have an annual salary of over $53,000 plus benefits."

UW- Milwaukee professor Jeffrey Sommers

But UW- Milwaukee professor of political economy and public policy Jeffrey Sommers says, "if we see 13,000 jobs of course that would be great. I don't think we're going to. Of course, what they're talking about initially is 3,000 jobs. So that would be a little bit less than 25%."

The agreement also includes the state providing up to $3 billion in an economic incentive package. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says the assembly may vote on the package as soon as mid- August.

"If you can't support and cheer for 10,000 new jobs being created that will average $50,000 a year, I don't know why you're even elected," Vos said.

Democratic Senator Lena Taylor

But Democratic Senator Lena Taylor questions the lack of transparency in making the deal and what Wisconsin will get for the money. Citing Foxconn's dealings in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

"Listen, 13,000 jobs sounds amazing. But this company has promised 50,000 jobs and delivered 500," Taylor said.

"Foxconn does have this reputation for getting local governments and officials very excited about the prospect of a massive investment," Sommers said. "Getting them thinking big and then getting those local governments to pick up the cost for their projects and sometimes not delivering at all or sometimes delivering for less than what they've stated."

Sommers also believes Foxconn really wants this deal because the area has a lot to offer that the company needs: a lot of fresh water, easy access to the interstate and two airports. The state is located in the middle of the country.