The package of incentives includes $3 billion for the company over 15 years, but only as long as the 13,000 jobs Foxconn says it will bring materialize.
Assembly Republican leaders say they hope the bill will hit the Assembly floor by mid-August.
Representative Adam Neylon is chair of the Assembly committee on jobs and the economy. He’s chairing the public hearing on the package this Thursday, and he says they’ll take their time to hear public input.
“However long it takes, we’re willing to do our dilligance to make sure we have the best product to attract these jobs to the state,” Neylon says.
This comes as the Legislature hits the one-month-past-deadline mark on the biennial budget.
Critics of the package are concerned the large incentives package isn’t worth Foxconn’s offer, and there’s no way to hold the company to its promises. But Vos says the bill requires Foxconn to have started construction in order to receive any portion of the incentives, and they’ll be tied to job creation as well.
“There’s really about as much protection as we could put into the bill, because it requires direct spending on construction, or direct spending on paychecks,” Vos says.
Others worry about portions of the bill that loosen environmental restrictions for Foxconn. The bill would make waive the requirement for an environmental impact statement and let Foxconn build over wetlands without a permit.
Vos says that those provisions are simply meant to streamline the process.
“The most important part to remember is in most cases, if not all, the federal process will be as rigorous as it is in any other project in the state of Wisconsin or around the country,” Vos says. “So we are not waiving environmental protections.”
The incentive package would also include 252 million dollars in borrowing to continue rebuilding I-94 in Racine and Milwaukee counties.
Vos says passing the incentives package is a priority for his caucus.
“Every part of our entire state is going to benefit from something that is so transformational, and has the ability to help not just the people who are going to be directly employed by Foxconn and the ancillary facilities, but all across the state,” Vos says.
But Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told the Associated Press the Assembly’s timeline is too quick, and his caucus would rather work on the budget first.
The memorandum of understanding Walker signed with Foxconn last week requires the Legislature to pass the incentives package no later than September 30.