Read the full article from the Journal Sentinel here.
A massive manufacturing complex planned by Foxconn Technology Group could generate broad gains for Wisconsin “that go far beyond the direct job estimates and tax revenue costs which have dominated the recent discussion,” according to a report by a UW-Madison economist released Monday.
If the Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer employs 13,000 people in the state, the ripple effect could spawn an additional 19,000 to 26,000 jobs through growth from the company’s suppliers and other businesses in the region, said Noah Williams, director of the Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy.
That could mean a return of $3.90 for every $1 in state subsidy costs spent to lure Foxconn and its planned investment of up to $10 billion, Williams said in his report, which was commissioned by the Wisconsin Technology Council.
The liberal group One Wisconsin Now Tuesday pointed to open records that they had received from Gov. Scott Walker’s office showing that in 2015 Williams had sought to advise Walker on his unsuccessful presidential campaign. That year, Williams also contributed $500 to Walker’s campaign, federal records show.
The news comes as the Legislature’s budget committee is scheduled to take testimony Tuesday on a state incentives package for Foxconn that includes environmental exemptions and up to $2.85 billion in cash to the company. The hearing in Sturtevant will be the first that will be held in the area that could benefit from the siting of the plant in southeastern Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, the Mount Pleasant Village Board voted Monday evening to hire a project director to help the community prepare for Foxconn should the company choose to locate in the village.
The action doesn’t mean the electronics manufacturer definitely plans to build its immense LCD panel factory in Mount Pleasant. But the Racine County village clearly is a potential site. Many landowners south of Highway 11 and east of I-94 have been asked to grant option rights to their properties for possible use by Foxconn. Property owners in the Town of Paris, in Kenosha County, also have been approached, but it has been Mount Pleasant and Racine County that appear to have acted the most aggressively to woo the company.
In the study released Monday, Williams also said it is “highly implausible” Foxconn would spend $10 billion on a factory that employs only 3,000 people — a possible scenario voiced by some who have questioned the state’s proposal to grant the company billions of dollars in incentives.
At the same time, however, Williams cautioned the large potential employment gains “are by no means certain.”
The UW economics professor did say he doubts large numbers of Foxconn workers will come from Illinois and thus benefit from spending by Wisconsin taxpayers.