MADISON — President Donald Trump casually
mentioned Tuesday that Foxconn’s chairman told him in
confidence the electronics giant’s investment could
reach $30 billion, triple the size of last week’s deal
Trump made the comments while addressing small-business
leaders at the White House. He didn’t elaborate on how
the figure could grow so high or even clarify whether he
was referring to just Wisconsin or nationwide —
including investments in other plants not yet announced.
‘‘They’re going to spend $10 billion, but he is one of
the great businessmen of our time,’’ Trump said in
reference to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou. ‘‘And I think the
number is going to be $30 billion. He told me off the
record he thinks he may go $30 billion, $30 billion.
Think of this. He may go 30 billion dollar investment,
but he told me that off the record so I promised I
wouldn’t tell anyone.’’
Foxconn officials didn’t immediately respond to a
request for comment from The Associated Press.
deal Gov. Scott Walker and Foxconn signed on Thursday
called for the Taiwanese company to invest $10 billion
in Wisconsin and initially employ 3,000 people by 2020,
with up to 13,000 within six years. Even at a third of
the size Trump said could be spent, the envisioned plant
project would be the largest in state history and result
in a 20 million-square-foot campus.
Critics of the deal have questioned whether Foxconn
would reach those lofty investment and employment
targets, noting that it’s promised to build other plants
in the U.S. around the world and not followed through.
Questions about $3B tax incentive package
Tuesday, Wisconsin state lawmakers wrestled with how
quickly to proceed on a $3 billion tax incentive package
to land the massive plant. Assembly Republicans
scheduled a public hearing on Thursday with a vote in a
couple weeks. But Senate Republican Leader Scott
Fitzgerald said he wanted to first pass the state’s
month-late budget, then take up Foxconn later this
Fitzgerald also said Tuesday that senators want more
information before proceeding with the bill to close the
deal. Walker, after meeting with Senate Republicans,
said there is a ‘‘potential for a few tweaks here and
there but I don’t think there will be major changes’’ to
the proposal. He also said it was reasonable for
lawmakers to sign off on the deal in a couple weeks. The
agreement calls for Wisconsin to finalize the deal by
the end of September.
Democrats, and even some Republicans, said they needed
more time to understand the ramifications of the $3
billion incentive package. The refundable tax credits
being offered to Foxconn are tied to the company meeting
investment and employment targets.
Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis of the bill released
Tuesday found provisions in the measure that would
require the Legislature to pay up to 40 percent of local
governments’ obligations related to Foxconn, such as
building roads and sewers. The commitment would kick in
only if the state Department of Administration secretary
approved the obligation before it was issued.
Process will be ‘as transparent and open’
as possible, Vos says
Democratic Rep. Gordon Hintz, a member of the
Legislature’s budget committee, said he had too many
unanswered questions to support the bill at this point.
‘‘How is it supposed to be transparent and open if it is
being rushed through in two weeks?’’ Hintz said.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he wants “to make sure
we are as transparent and open as we possibly can be to
make sure that the public fully understands what we are
looking to do.’’
Walker also said that at least one other state vying for
the project offered Foxconn even more money, but ‘‘it
wasn’t a huge gap.’’ He didn’t indicate which state or
states topped the offer or signal how he learned about
Foxconn also considered sites in Michigan, Illinois,
Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. The company said
in a press release last week when it announced that
Wisconsin had been selected that it was the first of
several expected investments in the country.