Wisconsin Governor Calls Special Session for Foxconn Incentive Package

By Quint Forgey Features Dow Jones Newswires

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Friday called a special legislative session next week focused on a multibillion-dollar incentive package for a major industrial facility announced this week by Foxconn Technology Group, the world's largest contract manufacturer of electronics.

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Foxconn, which makes iPhones and other gadgets for Apple Inc., said Wednesday it intends to construct a $10 billion facility in southeastern Wisconsin to manufacture display panels used in televisions and other products.

The governor is urging lawmakers to approve a $3 billion incentive package that includes state income tax credits and a $150 million sales tax "holiday," according to the release.

"This is a once-in-a-century opportunity for our state and our country, and Wisconsin is ready," Mr. Walker said in a news release. "Foxconn plans to bring the future of high-tech manufacturing to America, and Wisconsin is going to lead the way."

Mr. Walker has dubbed the coming session the "Wisconn Valley Special Session," likening the Badger State to California's Silicon Valley.

"I am encouraged by the bipartisan support we have seen for Wisconn Valley, and I call on the Legislature to support this measure and open the door for 13,000 direct Foxconn jobs, 10,000 direct construction jobs, and 22,000 more indirect or induced jobs related to this project," the governor said in the release. "This is good for our entire state."

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Still, there is some skepticism about the deal. Democratic State Senator Jennifer Shilling called the proposal "a $1 to $3 billion corporate welfare package" for Foxconn in a Friday news release, and noted that the company had failed to follow through on other similar announcements.

"Communities and small businesses that could be at a competitive disadvantage deserve full transparency when it comes to Gov. Walker's proposed tax breaks for Taiwanese investors," Ms. Shilling said. "I am cautious of committing taxpayers to decades of economic costs and liabilities."

Write to Quint Forgey at quint.forgey@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 28, 2017 18:39 ET (22:39 GMT)