Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, a possible candidate for governor, is walking the tightrope on the Foxconn development. On the one hand, Soglin is making it clear he’s opposed to the deal by calling it “over the top.”
“I’m fearful if that becomes the standard for job creation in Wisconsin, the whole state will suffer,” Soglin said according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Soglin said an incentive package of $600 million to $1.2 billion would be “more in line with national standards.”
On Facebook, Soglin has been more vocal against the deal, posting seven articles opposed to the Foxconn deal with misleading information. Our favorite is the one that says in a quote highlighted by Soglin, “This isn’t even cost-effective socialism.” Like Soglin’s favorite country, Cuba?
Commenting on one article, Soglin wrote:
Imagine 100’s of millions of dollars going to public schools, the UW, infrastructure like high speed internet. Imagine all the people with all the great jobs in a great state. Not tax cuts for the rich; and ordinary people left to pay for this. We are about to see what a rigged economy does to all the people when more is given away than is created.
In his next Facebook post, Soglin tapped his inner John Lennon:
Imagine all the people with access to great public schools, great colleges and universities, high speed internet, great roads and transit, great healthy food, great health care, great jobs….imagine all the people….
Imagine if we were spared that awful song.
But now Soglin also has to deal with the possibility that Foxconn is looking to build facilities in Madison or Fitchburg. He would like Foxconn to consider the recently-closed Oscar Mayer plant as a possible location. However, Soglin said, “we are not at all interested in participating in a race to the bottom in regards to competing with financial incentives that are not viable for this community.”
What Soglin is not addressing is that Foxconn would not even be looking in the Madison area for a location if it wasn’t for the state’s offer of nearly $3 billion in incentives for Foxconn to locate a $10 billion facility in southeastern Wisconsin. Soglin is acting like the two developments are separate when in reality its all a part of one huge economic development.
What Soglin should say, if he’s really opposed to the bill currently being considered by the legislature, that he’s opposed to Foxconn locating anything in his city. Soglin would rather have a shuttered Oscar Mayer plant as a monument to his opposition to capitalism than any Foxconn offices or factory in his city. Because that’s the real message of his opposition to the Foxconn deal. Ironically, Soglin may get the economic development he claims he wants despite his best efforts and the efforts of the Madison Democrats in the legislature to oppose it.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Soglin can thank Governor Scott Walker.