Take another look at Foxconn

Print Article

Obviously, the deal is shaping up differently than Wisconsin expected.

THIS ONE SEEMS like a no-brainer: If Foxconn can change its plans away from what had been negotiated and promised with Wisconsin state government officials, then Wisconsin ought to be able to make adjustments, too.

Foxconn did not meet its target employment numbers for 2018, a shortfall that cost the Chinese company nearly $10 million in state incentives.

Then, last week, Foxconn announced a major change - reneging on its promise to create a workforce for manufacturing high-tech screens for televisions and other uses, instead planning to create a "technology hub" populated mostly with researchers. Foxconn said the switch was necessitated by market changes, and the company still plans to create 13,000 jobs eventually - jobs that are tied to up to $4 billion in taxpayer incentives.

MAYBE THEY WILL, maybe they won't. Just a few months in, Foxconn's wavering record provides ample reason to wonder if the company's word is good.

Mind you, we are not accusing Foxconn of maliciously pulling a bait-and-switch on Wisconsin taxpayers. It's too early for that. Market changes are real and can force companies to adjust on the fly. And, as former Gov. Scott Walker tweeted last week, tax incentives are structured in a way that Foxconn won't get them unless the company fulfills contractual obligations.

On the other hand, the whole project was sold on the basis of bringing back manufacturing to Wisconsin and America. That matters, too, particularly for blue-collar workers who had hoped for jobs.

Wisconsin's new governor, Tony Evers, ran for office in part on the claim that he didn't like certain elements of the Foxconn deal negotiated by his predecessor, Walker. Those in the deal's-a-deal camp wanted to block Evers from trying to reopen arrangements between Foxconn and the state. In our view, that argument now falls flat. If Foxconn isn't keeping its end of the bargain, why shouldn't Wisconsin put issues back on the table? Like, for example, environmentally sensitive waivers.

WISCONSIN WANTS GROWTH and Foxconn may still be a pretty good bet. Partners need to work well together and accommodate flexibility when it is called for and preserves benefits.

But that's a two-way street. Evers should be allowed a crack at the negotiating table.

Print Article

Read More Editorials

Is this really what we want?

February 11, 2019 at 10:05 am | Partisan death matches sow discord all across America. ACCORDING TO WEBSTER, the word compromise is defined thusly: "Settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual conces...

Comments

Read More

Politics seldom dictates markets

February 11, 2019 at 10:05 am | Higher pay is a good thing, but government mandates can backfire. AWHILE BACK THERE was an editorial cartoon that showed the outline of the financially-troubled State of Illinois. Frantically flee...

Comments

Read More

Let's look out for each other

February 04, 2019 at 11:27 am | Remember the people who kept working during the arctic spell. HOW COLD WAS IT? Well, let's just say it was cold enough most sane people stayed indoors, if they had a choice. Some folks, however, ...

Comments

Read More

Take another look at Foxconn

February 04, 2019 at 11:27 am | Obviously, the deal is shaping up differently than Wisconsin expected. THIS ONE SEEMS like a no-brainer: If Foxconn can change its plans away from what had been negotiated and promised with Wiscon...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2019 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X