Can Wisconsin afford the Foxconn project?


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Can Wisconsin afford the Foxconn project?

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Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel, second from left, speaks about incentives for Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group before the Wisconsin Assembly, Aug. 3, at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis. The state has to approve $3 billion in tax breaks tied to Foxconn hiring and spending in the state. (Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

Wisconsin leaders enjoyed their moment in the spotlight late last month as it became clear that electronics giant Foxconn had chosen their state as the home for a giant factory — and up to 13,000 new jobs.

But in light of the incentives Wisconsin is offering the company, some are questioning the value of the win.

Wisconsin “is not projected to break even” on a total proposed $3 billion incentives package to the Taiwanese tech supplier to Apple, CNBC recently reported.

MORE: Apple supplier makes choice for U.S. home: Ohio in mix for next plant

And Wisconsin’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau, an agency that reviews legislation for state lawmakers, found that the state would not recoup its planned investment into Foxconn until at least the year 2043, the New York Times reported.

There’s more: This week, the leader of the Wisconsin Senate admitted that he doesn’t know if he has the votes to approve the Foxconn incentives package.

Which may be a problem. The company could decide to build its first U.S. factory elsewhere if the incentives aren’t approved by Sept. 30.

The factory is supposed to produce liquid-crystal display panels that are used in televisions and computer screens, according to the White House, which touted the project.

Recall that Ohio was said to be considered as a possible home for the work, as well — and it may still be a choice for another Foxconn project.

A source told the the Columbus Dispatch that Alex Fischer, president of the Columbus Partnership representing central Ohio businesses, was seen in late July at a Columbus-area airport with a delegation of Asian executives here to look at development sites.

Foxconn is best known for assembling Apple iPhones in China. Seven states had competed for the plant.

Foxconn continues to explore building a plant in central Ohio, according to the Dispatch.

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