“Well worth it:” Gov. Walker defends Foxconn incentives package as some speak out against it in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- Wisconsin taxpayers won't break even on the proposed Foxconn deal for at least 25 years. Non-partisan budget analysts at the Capitol said Tuesday, August 8th that's only if Foxconn keeps its commitment to build a $10 billion plant and hire 13,000 people. If people from Illinois make up more than 10 percent of Foxconn's workforce, or if the company falls short of 13,000 employees, taxpayers won't be made whole until beyond 2045. The analysis got to lawmakers Tuesday, two days before a planned committee vote. Democrats said the new details made them more likely to vote no.

"I think we really need to put the brakes on this, really slow down and vet this bill to make sure we get the right deal for Wisconsinites," Rep. David Crowley, D-Milwaukee said.

Governor Scott Walker responded by comparing the Foxconn deal to the Green Bay Packers signing DE Reggie White -- calling both "transformational." Walker said the deal is about more than the effect on tax revenue.

Foxconn was the focus of a town hall meeting in Milwaukee Tuesday night -- where some asked whether it's worth it.

Rep. Jonathan Brostoff

The meeting was hosted by Rep. Jonathan Brostoff, D-Milwaukee, who doesn't like the deal to bring Foxconn to Wisconsin.

"I just don't know how it can be done right," a speaker said.

"I want ironclad guarantees. I want a piece of that man's flesh if they back out of here," a speaker said.

After the announcement Foxconn could create up to 13,000 jobs in SE Wisconsin, some were skeptical Tuesday about the potential deal that lured the electronics manufacturer.

Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, Gov. Scott Walker sign memorandum of understanding for new manufacturing campus in Wisconsin

"It turns out the more details that come out, the worse this deal looks," Brostoff said.

Brostoff said a tax incentives package that could reach up to $3 billion isn't worth it.

"I think it's important that we invest in long-term economic solutions for our state, instead of gambling away our future that  we've seen isn't even going to give us a return for many, many years to come and that's just to break even," Brostoff said.

His meeting came just hours after the new numbers were released by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Analysts said it'll be decades before Wisconsin breaks even from this proposed Foxconn deal.

Governor Scott Walker

At the Wisconsin State Fair Tuesday night, Gov. Walker defended the proposal.

"Really the payoff is from income taxes for the 13,000 people that will get on average $53,000/a year plus benefits," Walker said.

Analysts said even with new taxes from 13,000 workers, the state won't make its money back until 2043, at the earliest.

Walker said it's an investment that will change the state.

"So it will take some time, but think it is well worth it. Those 13,000 jobs will provide a $10-and-a-half billion payroll we wouldn't otherwise have," Walker said.

"We shouldn't let out state get taken advantage of by some huge foreign company that wants to suck up our resources and leave for a quick payoff," Brostoff said.

The legislature will ultimately decide whether to give Foxconn the incentives package. The first vote could come as early as Thursday.