It’s now widely accepted that the deal to bring Foxconn to Wisconsin was a massive failure but it seems Dan Kapanke has yet to get the memo.
“I think Foxconn is going to end up being good for Wisconsin and Wisconsin employment,” the Republican said on Tuesday.
Kapanke’s comments come more than two years since President Donald Trump joined Gov. Scott Walker to break ground on the Foxconn site near Mount Pleasant that was supposed to become a $10 billion factory filled with thousands of workers producing LCD screens. That factory still doesn’t exist and likely never will.
Kapanke is running in the District 32 state senate race against Democrat Brad Pfaff and both spoke about Foxconn during a debate hosted by WKBT on Tuesday.
The deal Foxconn signed in 2017 was greased by the promise of $3 billion in subsidies, the largest corporate giveaway in Wisconsin history. Last week, Gov. Evers denied the first round of the payments because the project had gone so far off track with almost no jobs created. But Kapanke continues to insist the deal was a good one, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
“I don’t think they’ve gotten a lot of money yet if any based on the formula that they had to reach,” he said of Foxconn, a major Taiwanese corporation. “I think in that regard it was a good contract. Eventually again it’ll be good for the state of Wisconsin.”
A must-read investigative story published by The Verge this week estimated that state and local government spending on the program has totaled at least $400 million, mainly to pay for land and infrastructure that Foxconn will likely never use.
Kapanke said during Tuesday’s debate that it was important to be “prudent” with tax dollars and added: “I think we were with Foxconn.”
Dozens of homes were bulldozed after owners were pushed out under threat of eminent domain to clear the Foxconn site. By the end of last year, 281 of the 13,000 jobs the deal had promised had been created. Many of that total have since been laid off, according to published reports.
Even if the Foxconn deal had come together as promised by Gov. Walker, it would have come at an enormous cost. The state’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimated it would have cost $230,000 in subsidies per job created. It would have taken until 2043 for the state to recoup the $3 billion handout to Foxconn, the same report found.
Pfaff had a different view than his opponent on the Foxconn deal during Tuesday’s WKBT debate.
“I think Foxconn was a really, really wrong move for the state of Wisconsin,” he said, adding that the state should have invested in local businesses instead of wasting a huge sum on a multinational corporation.
By Eric Timmons. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Top image: Speaker Paul Ryan, President Donald Trump, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Foxconn Founder and CEO Terry Gou and Christopher Murdock at Foxconn’s groundbreaking ceremony in Mount Pleasant in 2018. Shealah Craighead/Public Domain.
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