Will 'no' ever be in Foxconn vocabulary?

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Development may even be granted special status in the courts.

THERE IS SUCH A THING as wanting something too much.

And Wisconsin is creeping into that territory as majority legislators collectively assume the supine position in submissiveness to Taiwan-based Foxconn.

First it was pledging to give away nearly $3 billion in taxpayer money - corporate welfare to bribe Foxconn into picking Wisconsin. Objectionable as taxpayer-financed giveaways to private businesses may be, an argument could be made during the heated competition with other states for Foxconn's investment. What can't be justified are the fuzzy "goals" tied to Foxconn's performance obligations. Likewise, it's not exactly a confidence-builder that monitoring will be left up to the deeply flawed Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, whose audits routinely point out a record of failures to keep track of the details.

THEN THERE IS THE matter of exempting Foxconn from a variety of environmental checkpoints businesses routinely must pass in order to develop in Wisconsin. Such special treatment suggests a willingness - perhaps an eagerness - to look the other way if problems arise.

Now comes the clincher.

The latest plan has all the markings of an attempt to fix future court cases if legal challenges happen to get in Foxconn's way.

The plan would freeze enforcement of any trial court ruling in a lawsuit until a higher court decision could be made.

And it would bypass the normal appellate court process altogether, referring a Foxconn matter directly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Is it a coincidence the Supreme Court is controlled 5-2 by conservative justices, who have a record of viewing cases through a partisan prism? This has every appearance of legislators striving to send a message to Foxconn, that the company can count on having friends at the Supreme Court without enduring the bothersome and uncertain appellate environment.

THE WALKER ADMINISTRATION'S slogan - "Wisconsin is open for business" - is a good one and we agree with its premise. The state should be welcoming and helpful for investors looking for a place to create jobs.

That doesn't mean authorities should lie down and put this addendum to the slogan: "Take whatever you want."

Why, for example, wouldn't any other business now feel entitled to skip environmental red-tape - and the appellate process - in a dispute?

As the Foxconn development moves forward, citizens may want to ask just how many more sweeteners and shortcuts are being hidden in the fine print.

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