The state Legislature’s Republican majority remains fractured as the clock ticks on the state budget and a deal to bring Foxconn to Wisconsin.
Assembly Republican leaders said Wednesday they expect to vote next week to approve a $3 billion incentive package for Foxconn, which plans to open a massive manufacturing facility in southeastern Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, told reporters it is “absolutely” his plan to delay action on the Foxconn bill until work on the state budget is complete. The two-year spending plan is now more than a month overdue.
“I’m not doing it just to do it,” Fitzgerald said. “I think it’s a necessity to try and get the state budget in a good place.”
Assembly GOP leaders said they are tentatively planning a committee vote on Tuesday, followed by a floor session on Thursday.
The Department of Natural Resources has already brought on a project manager to oversee the expected streamlined environmental permitting for a proposed Foxconn manufacturing plant, Secretary Cathy Stepp said Wednesday.
Stepp told Natural Resources Board members about the move while defending the department’s ability to quickly and effectively write permits setting limits for the factory’s air and water pollution and disposal of hazardous waste.
The Legislature is considering Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to offer the Taiwan-based manufacturer an incentive package that includes $3 billion and streamlined pollution permitting.
Walker and many of his fellow Republicans are pushing for quick action. Democrats and conservationist groups say the deal needs much more scrutiny.
Some farmers in southeast Wisconsin say they’ve been offered $50,000 an acre for their land. They believe it could be because Foxconn wants to build there.
Engineering crews tested soil stability in southern Racine County on Wednesday. Property owners say it’s a sign Foxconn is interested in the area.
Some say they’re not sure they want to sell.