The deal - on track to be the largest subsidy to a foreign company in USA history - offers Foxconn environmental exemptions and tax breaks tied to capital investment, employment and construction materials, in exchange for building a $10 billion LCD manufacturing facility in southeastern Wisconsin.
Governor Scott Walker is scheduled to sign a $3 billion incentive package for Foxconn later today.
The bill signing, at Gateway Technical College near Racine, is near where the Taiwan-based company plans to build a massive display-screen manufacturing plant that could employ thousands of people.
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"We're thrilled about that these [flat screens] are going to be the first of its kind made in America", Walker told the crowd, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "I know it is for me". Most Democratic members of the state Legislature have remained staunchly opposed to the subsidy throughout the months-long process, and some insiders have suggested Democrats pressured Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, to resign due to his support for the bill. Royal Dutch Shell, based in the Netherlands, now holds that title - Pennsylvania gave the oil business $1.65 billion in subsidies about five years ago, according to Politifact. It extends $150 million in sales tax exemptions on construction equipment and allows the company to build in wetlands and waterways. Critics have ripped a provision in the bill that would send appeals of any legal challenge straight to the state Supreme Court, which leans conservative. If a circuit court judge's decision is appealed, the judge's ruling would automatically be put on hold. He says Foxconn will create an industrial park for the Silicon Valley in southeast Wisconsin. It also sets aside $20 million under the state Department of Workforce Development for a worker training and employment program.
If Foxconn ends up qualifying for the full package, the company would beat the United States record for tax breaks given to a foreign company. Wetland mitigation will be required to be done on a 2:1 ratio.
Walker and supporters are heralding the deal as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the state a hub for the high-tech electronics industry. Opponents generally say they welcome the creation of jobs, but that the arrangement raises too many concerns.