In a press release Thursday, Eric Bott of Americans for Prosperity – Wisconsin criticized the incentive package being offered by Republican Governor Scott Walker to Foxconn to locate a $10 billion high-tech facility in southeastern Wisconsin.
“However, as much as we believe in Governor Walker’s agenda that has turned this state around, as free market activists who staunchly oppose government tax incentives, we cannot support the expensive refundable tax credits in this package, which are not available to every other business in our state,” Bott wrote.
Bott did not respond immediately for a request for further comment.
The incentive package that was offered by Wisconsin was up to $3 billion total over 15 years. The deal would give Foxconn $1.5 billion in tax credits for employment of up to 13,000 workers at the facility, another $1.35 billion in tax credits for the capital investment, and $150 million in sales and use tax credits for building materials and supplies. The incentives are paid to Foxconn as the employees are hired and the capital investment in the facility is made.
A bill before the legislature approving the deal and creating an enterprise zone, “Foxconn Valley,” is currently before the state legislature in a special session called by Walker. Assembly Republicans held their public hearing on the bill on Thursday.
Senate Republicans have announced they would rather complete work on the state budget first. The previous budget expired July 1. Republicans are still divided on transportation borrowing, tax cuts, expansion of school choice and education spending.
In the release, Bott praised Walker’s record and said it looked forward to supporting his agenda in the future. “Looking ahead, we are eager to work with Gov. Walker and the state legislature on pro-growth reforms that make taxpayer handouts unnecessary because Wisconsin’s tax, regulatory, and labor climate will make our state the obvious choice for companies looking to build new plants or relocate,” Bott wrote.
Bott’s statement was contrary to remarks by Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips at a recent forum co-hosted by the organization and Freedom Partners, “Un-rig the Economy with Tax Reform” on July 31. Phillips, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short were discussing the importance of tax reform for economic growth when Foxconn was mentioned.
“Congratulations on the enormous job announcement in Wisconsin just last week,” Phillips said. “We’ll talk about that for a moment.”
“That’s a perfect example. $10 billion invested in Wisconsin that’s going to create over 13,000 jobs in the most advanced technology,” Mnuchin said.