As a parting gift to Wisconsin, Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus once hired by Koch Industries to manage that particular midwest subsidiary, gave away most of the southeast corner of the state to Foxconn, a Taiwanese tech giant that could see a sucker coming from an ocean away. You will note that, on his visit to Green Bay on Saturday, with Walker himself sucking up from the cheap seats, El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago didn't mention the Foxconn deal while patting himself on the back for his economic genius. There's a reason for that. The Foxconn deal is on its way to being a lemon of historic proportion.
The latest examination of this ongoing, slow-rolling debacle comes from the Wall Street Journal, which tells us the tale of Mount Pleasant, a small farming town on which Foxconn has fallen like nuclear bomb.
Contractors have bulldozed about 75 homes in Mount Pleasant and cleared hundreds of farmland acres. Crews are widening Interstate 94 from Milwaukee to the Illinois state line to accommodate driverless trucks and thousands of employees. Village and county taxpayers have borrowed around $350 million so far to buy land and make infrastructure improvements, from burying sewer pipes to laying storm drains. One thing largely missing: Foxconn. President Trump and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou hatched the factory plan in 2017, and both attended last summer’s gold-shovel groundbreaking in Mount Pleasant, 20 miles south of Milwaukee.
As of Dec. 31, the Taiwanese manufacturing giant, famous as an Apple Inc. supplier, had spent only $99 million, 1% of its pledged investment, according to its latest state filings. The company projected as many as 2,080 in-state employees by the end of 2019 but had fewer than 200 at last year’s end, state filings show. The village is still awaiting factory building plans for review. Locals said Foxconn contractors have recently been scarce on the site. The impact on Mount Pleasant, by contrast, is palpable. Its debt rating has slipped. Local politics has become fraught. Neighbors have fallen out over land seizures.
So far, then, the partners in Walker's genius deal have reneged on what they promised to build there and they've spent one percent of what they've promised to spend-not to mention the fact that they've run roughshod over the people who live there and that the company has been giving newly elected Governor Tony Evers a hard time. From AppleInsider:
Following complaints from Wisconsin's recently-elected Governor, Tony Evers, Foxconn has attempted to renegotiate the contract.
"To my knowledge, this was the first time either Foxconn or the State of Wisconsin has mentioned amending or changing the agreement approved [in] 2017," Evers has said. While not revealing Foxconn's recommendations, Evers added that Wisconsin is identifying areas that "will enable greater flexibility and transparency as the project continues to evolve." "Foxconn has never wavered from our commitment to our contract with the State of Wisconsin and the creation of 13,000 jobs as part of our broader effort to make the Badger state a global technology hub," the company said to us in a statement earlier in April.
In the meantime, the local council has decided to lease 966 acres of land back to the local farmer they bought it all from for $1.7 million last August. For the privilege, the farmer is paying $170,000 per year. Local residents who haven't accepted deals are campaigning to keep their homes, and are complaining to officials from the county about the future of the Foxconn plant. "At some point we're talking about things that are just imaginary," said Nick Demske, a commissioner in Racine County. "We're pretending."
If you've ever wondered why people are fighting the Keystone XL pipeline so hard on the grounds that foreign corporations shouldn't be stealing people's land, this is why.
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