It was “the eighth wonder of the world,” Donald Trump said, driving a golden shovel into the ground. The then-president touted Foxconn’s planned Wisconsin factory as a major win for his economic goals.
A year and a half later, the future of the manufacturing deal is far less certain. Earlier this week, the state announced a dramatic scaling back of a plan it had hoped would return blue-collar jobs back to the hard hit state. The Taiwanese manufacturing giant is scaling back its investment from $10 billion to $672 million.
The new plans also call for a massive cut to potential headcount — to 1,454, down from 13,000. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers framed the reduction as a tax-saving deal in a press release issued this week.
“When I ran to be governor, I made a promise to work with Foxconn to cut a better deal for our state—the last deal didn’t work for Wisconsin, and that doesn’t work for me,” Evers said. “Today I’m delivering on that promise with an agreement that treats Foxconn like any other business and will save taxpayers $2.77 billion, protect the hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure investments the state and local communities have already made, and ensure there’s accountability for creating the jobs promised.”
Evers stepped into the role of Governor in 2019, following Scott Walker, who played a key role in negotiating the deal under Trump. The package included in the neighborhood of $4 billion in incentives for Foxconn, a record-breaking deal for the firm.
Plans for the TV factory shifted considerably since it was announced nearly four years ago, and in early 2019, it appeared that Foxconn had abandoned it altogether, before a phone call from Trump apparently put plans back on track.
As Reuters notes, the state has already spent in excess of $200 million on infrastructure, training and other aspects ahead of the planned factory opening.