The state Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy will be holding a public hearing on Thursday at 1:30 PM on the proposed Foxconn legislation. Committee chairman state Rep. Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee, said in an interview Tuesday that the negative comments about the proposal are the result of partisan politics.
“I just think it’s a sign of the political times that people can’t be happy about good things happening when the other party’s in charge,” Neylon said. “It’s grabbing onto something even though it’s off their message in the past.”
Neylon said the mantra from Assembly Democrats has been to ask where are the jobs bills? “Now they have something that is so obviously a jobs bill that everybody in the state is paying attention to,” Neylon said. “But they’re scrambling to figure out what’s going to be their message without giving Republicans credit for creating a climate where businesses want to expand and move into.”
The proposed enterprise zone called Wisconn Valley for the Foxconn development will give Foxconn nearly $3 billion in incentives over 15 years in exchange for the company investing $10 billion and creating up to 13,000 jobs in the Racine-Kenosha area. The development will also employ 10,000 construction workers to build the facility. Foxconn does not receive the employment or investment tax credits until the company hires employees or invests in the facility. The Foxconn development is expected to generate $7 billion in annual economic activity.
In addition, there have been reports that Foxconn may build a headquarters in Milwaukee and build additional facilities in Dane County, complicating Democratic efforts to criticize the Foxconn agreement.
President Donald Trump said that the total Foxconn investment may be $30 billion, an amount Trump claimed he was told by Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou in confidential conversations. However, that amount was not confirmed by Foxconn.
“There’s a lot there,” Neylon said. “And I think that it will be good if people are engaged in the process and really pay attention to some of the things happening in the legislation. The more eyes, the better the product.”
Neylon said that he doesn’t believe the state Assembly is moving too fast on the bill creating Wisconn Valley. “I don’t think we’re moving too fast because I’ve read the bill,” Neylon said. “I think that the bill is good and that it will have a positive impact on Wisconsin.”
“I think it is an historic opportunity for Wisconsin to be what would then be the capital of electronics and IT manufacturing in North America,” Neylon said. “I think that’s just too good an opportunity not to try to incentivize them to locate here.”
Even though the project is not in Neylon’s district, he sees an economic benefit for his constituents. “There are supply providers all over southeastern Wisconsin, including in my district, that could potentially benefit from the $1 billion in supply purchases annually,” Neylon said. “I think it will have a ripple effect regionally, and it will also send a message that Wisconsin is a good place to innovate and a good place to grow.”
Neylon said the project will also benefit the state as a whole. “Not only will it have a ripple effect, it will grow our tax revenue pie,” Neylon said. “Long term, it could ultimately lower people’s income taxes. Because when we have a larger pie of revenue to work with then we’re able to look at things like cutting taxes or like eliminating the personal property tax.”
“But I think it will also benefit through that confidence that Wisconsin is a place to grow and start your business,” Neylon said.