“This is a deliberation:” Public gets its last say on Foxconn incentives package

STURTEVANT -- Wisconsin Republicans say they are nearing deals on the massive Foxconn incentives package -- as well as the long-overdue state budget.

The last scheduled public vetting of the Foxconn incentives package took place in Sturtevant on Tuesday, August 22nd. Next will be the Wisconsin Senate vote, which GOP leaders hope will come in September, allowing Foxconn to break ground.

Lawmakers came to Sturtevant on Tuesday to hear from people in Sturtevant, one of the locations Foxconn is considering.

Top Republicans are on board with the $3 billion incentives deal.

"There's a lot of downside to saying no, and there's a lot of upside in saying yes," said State Sen. Alberta Darling, Finance co-chair.

In dueling news conferences, Republicans and Democrats sparred over why Foxconn executives did not attend a second straight hearing.

Foxconn Joint Finance Committee Meeting

"It's kind of disappointing that the head of Foxconn or at least somebody from Foxconn isn't here to testify today," said State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D - Middleton).

"This isn't a sales job for Foxconn to come in and try to woo us. This is a deliberation on the particulars of the bill," Darling said.

The hearing in Sturtevant comes five days after the Assembly passed the deal on a two-to-one margin. It's a key step before a Senate vote.

Questions about the deal, in which taxpayers would pay cash to Foxconn if the company builds a huge plant and hires 13,000 people, are almost never-ending.

Gov. Scott Walker's cabinet officials told lawmakers Foxconn would hire at least 90 percent of its workers from Wisconsin.

Democrats were skeptical about promises to get Milwaukeeans to the jobs.

State Sen. Lena Taylor (D - Milwaukee)

"I get the concept -- made in Wisconsin -- personally I would like to say made by some Milwaukee folks," said State Sen. Lena Taylor (D - Milwaukee).

Republicans who control the committee did not set a timeline for a vote. But it is clear they are moving quickly. They want to approve the Foxconn incentives and wrap up the long-overdue state budget by the end of September.

Walker administration officials said on Tuesday that they would seek to strengthen the final contract with Foxconn so that both the average and median salary will be $54,000 -- even though the state only requires salaries of $30,000 to qualify for tax credits.