Illinois recently got a humiliating rejection notice from Foxconn, the Taiwanese tech giant. Foxconn picked Wisconsin over struggling Illinois and other states for the proposed site of a $10 billion LCD panel factory that will employ up to 13,000 people. These mega-projects don’t happen every day, so Foxconn’s decision hurts because job growth is the only way to solve Illinois’ fiscal crisis: More jobs means more tax revenue.
What really stings, though, is how the winning site is just across the state line in southeast Wisconsin. It’s as if Foxconn settled on the Midwest as a location and then decided: We want to be as near as possible to Illinois without actually being there.
Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou gave an interview to Steve Jagler, the business editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Gou gave Jagler eight reasons why Foxconn chose Wisconsin. Two of them were – literally – proximity to Illinois: First, Wisconsin is conveniently located in the central U.S., “close to Chicago, a global hub,” the Journal Sentinel reported. Second, Wisconsin has the transportation and logistics to accommodate Foxconn’s growth, and is … near O’Hare International Airport. Feel free to smack your forehead.
When Diane Hendricks sees something she doesn’t like here, she buys it.
A bankrupt country club. A half-empty mall. Abandoned buildings. The rusting foundry down by the river.
Beloit used to be a town that made papermaking machines and diesel engines. Ms. Hendricks thinks it can be a place where start-ups create the next billion-dollar idea, and she is remaking the town to fit her vision. She can do so because she is the second-richest woman in the United States, behind only Marian Ilitch of Little Caesars Pizza.
“I see old buildings, and I see an opportunity for putting things in them,” says Ms. Hendricks, 70, who got her start fixing up houses here as a single mother and made her billions selling roofing felt, copper gutters and cement with her late husband, Ken.
More than two years after it was created as part of the state’s 2015-’17 budget, the University of Wisconsin System’s Office of Educational Opportunity is taking steps to authorize its first charter schools.
The office issued two requests for proposals this week, one for a pilot for an addiction recovery school, which could be located anywhere in the state; and another for potential charter schools in Madison and Milwaukee.
Gary Bennett, the former chief of staff for Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) who was tapped last year to lead the office, said some municipalities and Cooperative Educational Service Agency, or CESA, networks have voiced interest in the recovery school.
As for the traditional charters, if there is interest at all, he said, it’s more likely to be in Madison than Milwaukee.