Foxconn incentive bill approved by Wisconsin Senate

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Posted: Sep 13, 2017 12:07 AM

On a mostly partisan-line vote, the Wisconsin Senate approved a tax-incentive plan to bring a Foxconn manufacturing plant to the state.

The bill, which includes up to $2.3 billion in tax credits for the Taiwanese company, passed on a vote of 20-13. One Republican senator voted against, and one Democratic senator voted for it.

Senate Democrats have raised a number of objections to the package and attempted to pass a number of amendments during debate on Tuesday, which all failed on party line votes.

The Foxconn deal has been in a constant state of evolution since Governor Scott Walker announced in July that the company intends to bring a factory to southeast Wisconsin. What started with the state offering $1.25 billion in tax credits has so far ended up at just under $3 billion. Foxconn has pledged to create up to 13,000 jobs.

Democrats have taken issue with the size of the tax break as well as a Republican proposal that would allow lawsuits against the plant to proceed directly to the state Supreme Court.

In the Senate debate on Tuesday, Democrats offered nine amendments that sought to address environmental concerns as well as the appeals process for Foxconn-related lawsuits. All of the Democratic amendments were rejected, but the Senate accepted one proposed by Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald that will make it optional for the Supreme Court to hear appeals, instead of mandatory.

Republican Senator Van Wanggaard, who represents parts of Racine and Kenosha counties – where the factory will likely be built – said the deal is “mind-boggling” in scope and that “people all over Wisconsin will benefit” from the jobs that will be created.

Democratic Sen. Jon Erpenbach said that, “We’re going to turn in our environmental soul today,” referring to regulatory exemptions the factory will receive under the bill.

The bill now advances to the Wisconsin Assembly for a final vote on Thursday. If it passes there, it will be sent to Walker to be signed.