Lawmaker: Lack of guarantees delays Wisconsin’s Foxconn vote

Lawmaker: Lack of guarantees delays Wisconsin’s Foxconn vote

A state senator negotiating with Foxconn to establish a massive electronics plant in Wisconsin says a key vote on a contract was delayed because taxpayer funds could be exposed if the Taiwanese company doesn’t fulfill its end of the deal.

Gov. Scott Walker has signed a $3 billion incentives package for Foxconn to build a flat screen manufacturing complex in Mount Pleasant. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is working on a contract to execute the incentives.

State Sen. Tim Carpenter said the agency can’t guarantee taxpayer funds will be recouped if Foxconn violates the agreement, due to the deal’s structure.

“There was a tremendous flaw what I call a the nuclear bomb inside the bill,” he said “The reason for the delay is because taxpayers money would have been sent out the door to Foxconn and we would have not had the protections to get that money back,” Carpenter said.

Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard, who represents the southeast part of the state where the plant will be built, said he has faith the right deal will come with time.

“I would rather not worry about claw back. I rather get the contract right, so you don’t have to worry about the claw back because it’s hard to get those dollars back once they have gone out the door,” he said.

The agency’s CEO, Mark Hogan, has declined to explain why the scheduled vote was delayed.

A spokesperson for Hogan said the board didn’t vote because the contract wasn’t ready.

“There is no timeline for when the contract will be signed. We will take whatever time is necessary to develop a contract that is in the best interests of Wisconsin taxpayers,” said WEDC public affairs communication director, Mark Maley.

Democrats are pressuring Hogan to release the contract details before any vote. Carpenter said he would vote no without seeing details of the contract.

“I want people to know I’m looking out for the taxpayer on this one. I don’t want to see us get fleeced,” he said.

Another vote is scheduled for Nov. 8, according to Carpenter.