Foxconn is a multinational corporation on track to receive the largest corporate giveaway in American history. Wisconsin taxpayers will be handing over $3 billion in (largely cash) incentives to entice them to open a factory in Southeast Wisconsin.
You may have noticed that, up until now, we’ve been mostly silent on the subject.
We wanted to take time to talk to folks in our local chapters, and to fully understand what was really in the deal. We recently sent out an email, asking you how you all felt about it. Your response was overwhelming. And (virtually) unanimous.
We asked if you supported the deal. 99.2% of you said “no.” A small handful of you needed more information.
Some of your responses were so heartfelt and well-written, we just had to share them with our community. (They’ve been anonymized for privacy).
“Foxconn is a total rip off. Walker couldn’t grow jobs so he bought them with my money. I worked in the electronics industry for 23 years. The floor production staff isn’t going to make the kind of money Walker said they would, it just not going to happen. I predict that the plant will be just big enough to get the tax dollars. It will be too expensive to build screens in the USA compared to their plants overseas. Foxconn just wanted a hedge against Trump’s threat of retaliation against China’s trade practices, and Walker bought into it. I will be paying for this awful deal for the rest of my life.”
“In today’s business ecosystem large corporations have come to expect patronage from various forms of government. The reasoning is that business will provide jobs and other economic investment or value to the nearby area that they end up operating in. While this is true, it is definitely not fair to smaller businesses and creates an uneven playing field that benefits larger and larger businesses. Talk to any investment manager, they will tell you many small investments compared to singular large investments is a far better approach. It manages risk by spreading out success and failure. A single investment failing—while unfortunate—doesn’t become a doomsday event. By appealing to these massive corporations we are only placing them further up the ladder from smaller entities making competition scarce and forcing those communities to become tied to the corporation’s success. This is an extremely negative effect that I simply do not want perpetuated any longer.”
“$45,000,000 for each of 72 counties to create 200 jobs in each county. That would be 14,400 jobs created by and for Wisconsin citizens, and the money would circulate at home, not be siphoned off into a foreign bank account.”
“First of all, it could be spread around the state instead of being localized in one location. Like Roosevelt’s work programs, people could be put to work improving infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc); setting up Head Start centers and providing day care facilities in rural communities; create job training centers for those who who need training; put people to work constructing clean energy systems; provide seed money for small businesses that meet needs; and those are just off the top of my head.”
“We need an overhaul of the criminal justice system with our overcrowded prisons. Get the Parole board back. Release inmates after they served their 75% and 85% time as set up by the legislature as their legal right. Process the farm paperwork and feed the inmates decent food with the money saved by reducing overcrowding. Foxconn costs us money and will employ Illinois residents more than Wisconsinites. Make job training a part of prison release so our CNC positions and others can be filled by people eager to work and needing to start a new life. This will save money in multiple ways and provide for economic growth. Walker just wants to be President. He doesn’t want what would really help our budget and citizens.”
“Born and raised in Racine. The community is hurting but we did not need Foxconn. Many businesses are trying to find skilled workers in the county and already can’t. Really upset about how state of Wisconsin waived environmental regulations for this. This is our backyard we are waving people’s right to a clean environment for this business. It also sets a precedent of how they can treat us and how we treat ourselves in terms of the environment. Thanks!”
We also asked if you had suggestions for how else Wisconsin could have put that $3 billion dollars to use.
Here are your ideas:
Invest in education at all levels (177)
Fix our infrastructure and crumbling roads (135)
Provide healthcare for all of us in Wisconsinites (87)
Protected the environment
Support small businesses
Expand our investments in renewable energy
And many others…
It was so great to see how many of your ideas were right out of the OWR Platform. Just like you, we believe that by putting forward a positive, aspirational (because yes, it will take some work!) vision for the state of Wisconsin, we are offering giving everyone something to fight FOR, not just against.
Thank you all for sending in your feedback. You can expect OWR to make a strong showing of your opposition to this “deal” and we will fight back by putting forward OWR positive, aspirational vision for what this state can be for all of us living here.
Please feel free to reach us in the comments or firstname.lastname@example.org