MADISON — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker plans to sign into law a $3 billion incentive package for electronics giant Foxconn Technology Group. The Taiwan-based company plans to build a display screen manufacturing plant in the Badger State.
It's a deal that dominated the headlines all summer long, and many bar-side conversations in Racine County as well. That's where Foxconn plans to build its manufacturing plant that could employ thousands.
"I know a lot of people struggling and always looking for a job. I think this will be a very prosperous thing for the whole city," JoEllyn Mcleod of Mount Pleasant said.
Walker announced Sunday that he will sign the bill on Monday at Gateway Technical College in Sturtevant -- near Racine. In August, the building played host to a public hearing about Foxconn, and the state's Joint Finance Committee heard many concerns about the project.
"What if workers are replaced by robots who don't pay taxes?" one person asked.
But ultimately, the Assembly and Senate passed the incentive bill, more or less along party lines.
"For as many people who are coming to you and saying 'don't do it,' you`re going to hear more people say 'why in the heck did you miss this opportunity for us?'" Senator Alberta Darling, R-River Hills said.
The incentive package is the largest in U.S. history offered by a state to a foreign corporation. It's 10 times larger than any previous state incentive in Wisconsin. Foxconn could only get the full $3 billion if it invests $10 billion on the project and employs 13,000 workers. The company could also qualify for $150 million in sales tax exemptions for construction equipment.
Where exactly the plant will be located remains unknown, but it's believed it'll go somewhere in Racine County, after Kenosha took itself out of the running, citing utility and annexation issues.
"For us, with the way the language reads and the situation, it doesn't quite work," Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian said.
The opposite is happening in Mount Pleasant, where the village hired a full-time project director to send a message to Foxconn that they're ready to roll out the welcome mat.
"It does have everything to do with Foxconn, but again, a decision hasn't been made so we're trying to get out in front of it," Village President Dave Degroot said.
Officials in neighboring Sturtevant have remained quiet, with Village President Jayme Hoffman offering "no comment" about Monday's signing ceremony.