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Wisconsin Canceling its Checks to Foxconn

The Republican Party once touted a deal to bring Foxconn to Wisconsin as evidence of their commitment to bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., but the deal has soured, potentially beyond rescue.
October 14, 2020, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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As part of a development deal brokered by former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and celebrated by President Donald Trump, Wisconsin agreed to pay $3 billion in subsidies to lure Foxconn to build a massive LCD display factory in Racine County.

Now Timothy B. Lee reports the latest developments in an ongoing saga that included numerous controversies and disappointments: "In a Monday letter, the state informed Foxconn that the company wouldn't get the first installment of the $3 billion because Foxconn wasn't holding up its end of the deal."

The state is accusing Foxconn of falling short of several terms in their 2017 agreement. For instance, "Foxconn would be eligible for the first round of subsidies if it hired at least 520 full-time employees to work on the LCD panel factory by the end of 2019. Foxconn claimed that it had cleared this bar by hiring 550 employees in the state. But Wisconsin found that Foxconn had only 281 employees who counted toward the requirement," according to Lee.

Moreover, "Foxconn was supposed to spend $3.3 billion on the project by the end of 2019. Instead, Foxconn had only spent around $300 million by the end of the year."

Foxconn has reneged on other parts of the deal, too, like its commitment to build Generation 10.5. Foxconn is now reportedly planning to build a plant to manufacture LCD panels based on the Generation 6 standard. "That means the factory will be much less expensive to build and require fewer workers when it's complete.

That means the factory will be much less expensive to build and require fewer workers when it's complete.

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Published on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 in Ars Technica
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