MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin's top environmental official says a Foxconn plant in the state would be a "gift" and her agency can balance the environment with job creation.
President Donald Trump announced last month that the Taiwanese electronics company would build a plant in southeastern Wisconsin. Gov. Scott Walker has introduced a $3 billion incentives bill to help Foxconn. The measure exempts the company from a range of environmental regulations.
Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp, a Walker appointee, told the agency's board Wednesday that the bill simply streamlines the bureaucratic process for the company.
She called the Foxconn plant a gift and the DNR will prove it can balance environmental protection with the needs of businesses.
Senate leader: Budget before Foxconn
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Wednesday that the Legislature should pass the stalled state budget before turning to Gov. Scott Walker's $3 billion incentive plan for Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn.
Fitzgerald said he's going to send the bill to the Legislature's budget-writing committee and reiterated his previous stance that the committee should finish work on the state budget before addressing the incentives.
Fitzgerald says he doesn't know if he has the votes to pass the incentive package.
Fitzgerald's spokeswoman, Myranda Tanck, said in a follow-up email that Fitzgerald hasn't counted the votes in the caucus. She said he has discussed the bill with members but they've been waiting for an analysis from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. The bureau released that review Tuesday. Tanck said the caucus plans to meet again on Thursday.
Fitzgerald added that Assembly Republicans have started working on amendments to the package without any Senate input.
Rep. Ed Brooks introduced the first amendment on Wednesday. The bill calls for obtaining a federal match before spending money to rebuild Interstate 94.
State legislators plan Foxconn incentives vote next week
Wisconsin legislators expect to begin voting next week on Gov. Scott Walker's $3 billion incentives bill for Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn.
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, a Republican, says the Assembly's jobs committee expects to take up the bill early next week with a floor session planned for Aug. 17. Passage would move it to the state Senate.
Democrats have said legislators should slow down and more closely examine the bill's potential impacts.
Walker's bill would exempt construction materials from the state and local sales tax and hand the company up to $2.85 billion in tax credits based on the number on the number of jobs generated. It also exempts the company from a host of environmental regulations and borrows $252 million to rebuild Interstate 94 near the plant site.
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