The Truth About the Foxconn Incentive Bill
As with any major legislative initiative, there are a lot of differing opinions and interpretations about the Foxconn incentive bill. I am thoroughly reviewing the bill with my staff, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau and others. Here's what I have learned about the the bill:
The economic incentives to Foxconn are entirely dependent on Foxconn action. This isn’t a cash handout, this is more like a partial reimbursement for their investment. Foxconn will not receive any benefits from Wisconsin unless and until they actually spend money and/or hire people in Wisconsin.
Under the proposal, Foxconn will receive a 17% refundable tax credit on all full-time employees paid between $30,000 and $100,000 a year. In addition, Foxconn will be eligible for up to a 15% tax credit on “significant capital expenditures.” Like with several other large construction projects, construction materials will be tax-exempt.
There is a lot of misinformation about the environmental changes in the bill. Let me be clear – no environmental and pollution standards are changed in the Foxconn legislation.
While Foxconn will be exempt from needing duplicative permits for certain activities, they will still have to comply with all other current environmental laws and regulations regarding those activities. Exemptions already granted to other businesses will be extended. Rather than gutting wetland protections, as some have said, the bill requires 2-to-1 wetland mitigation by Foxconn, 166% of the current standard. Although the state environmental impact statement is waived, the federal environmental impact statement is still required.
You and I both know Wisconsin isn’t China, and Foxconn knows it too. They want to be a good corporate partner in Wisconsin, and know that poor management of environmental resources will be bad public relations, and bad for their bottom line.