State of Wisconsin Seeks to Tighten Job Requirements on Foxconn Deal

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration is seeking to tighten up job creation requirements as part of a multibillion dollar deal to bring a Taiwanese company to southeastern Wisconsin, a top official said Tuesday. 

Foxconn Technology Group could receive up to $2.85 billion in cash payments from the state in exchange for building an up to $10 billion flat screen plant and hiring up to 13,000 workers. 

Speaking at a budget committee hearing here Tuesday, the head of Wisconsin’s jobs agency said the state was seeking to include stronger safeguards on those payments in its final contract with the company. 

Mark Hogan, chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., said his agency is seeking to require Foxconn to return some of the payments if employment at the factory doesn’t hit employment targets.

If Foxconn’s employment should rise to 13,000 by the fifth or sixth year of the deal but then decline, “we would look at putting in our contract the ability to pull back some of those dollars,” Hogan told lawmakers. 

Production workers at the plant will be paid more than $20 an hour, Hogan said. He said that not only will the average annual salary be nearly $54,000, but so will the median. That means half of Foxconn employees here would be paid more than $54,000 a year and half less.

Hogan also confirmed what has been widely believed but not officially acknowledged: Foxconn will locate its massive liquid crystal display panel factory in Racine County or Kenosha County.

That would represent a significant addition to the Foxconn deal, which has some safeguards in place but no minimum job creation requirement for some of the potential payments to the company. Democrats have called for including these protections in the Foxconn bill itself rather than waiting to see if they are included in the final contract with the company.