Tuesday - July 11, 2017 3:29 am

Foxconn to Wisconsin comes with complications

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Foxconn plant Foxconn plant Foxconn - Prachatai (flickr.com/photos/prachatai)

Could bring 10,000 jobs to state.

Buzz about a massive Taiwan manufacturer setting up shop in Wisconsin seems to be getting louder.

Electronics giant Foxconn is, apparently, eyeing Racine County for a plant that could have 10,000 jobs.

That could have tremendous ripple effect, says University of Wisconsin economist Hart Posen.

"Even the biggest auto plants in the U.S. only directly employ a few thousand people in the plant, even though their impact on employment is 10 or more times that," he said.

The deal that lawmakers appear confident is happening, could also set fire to the state's workforce, Posen suggests. 

Just beware of the state giving away the farm to get Foxconn. Posen said that happens. 

"So, it's not just the benefits, it's what we have to pay in terms of tax concessions to get those benefits," Posen said.

And, all those promised jobs could be empty promises, as well.

"We provide some tax benefits to some firm that comes in claiming to create a certain number of jobs," Posen said. "A few years later, the government, or someone else, complains that that number of jobs was not created."

The biggest challenge for any manufacturer in Wisconsin continues be finding workers to fill jobs that are already available — much less, 10,000 new, tech intensive jobs at a new manufacturer. 

Some analysts worry those jobs could siphon away workers from manufacturers from elsewhere in the state.  

The addition could mean some high-level-employee poaching, if Foxconn actually winds up setting up shop in the state.  

 

Last modified on Tuesday - July 11, 2017 7:08 am
Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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