Wisc. Assembly Approves $3B Foxconn Incentive

Isaac Cain
September 16, 2017

Republican Rep. John Nygren, co-chair of the Legislature's budget-writing committee, acknowledged the budget has taken longer than usual but would pay for the state's priorities.

Before the budget can make it to Gov. Scott Walker's desk, it must first pass the state Senate.

The Assembly passed the budget late Wednesday night and Republican Speaker Robin Vos pledged he would not return to vote again if the Senate made any changes.

"This whole series of suppliers that we met with will be overall a net gain to the state of Wisconsin because they'll be coming in and investing and employing people and we presume that the biggest incentive will be, providing the fact that Foxconn will be there", Walker said Wednesday in a call with reporters. Fitzgerald emerged from a closed-door meeting with senators on Wednesday afternoon saying he still doesn't have 17 votes but hoped to get there by Friday.

Walker insisted that the last-minute Senate snag of the budget won't last. Republicans control the Assembly and Democrats don't have the votes to stop passage of the budget.

"We are not making wholesale changes to appease one senator with additional budget requests", Vos said. Vos' statement effectively forces the Republican-controlled Senate to pass the budget as is, or ignore his statement and send back the budget with revisions to the Assembly.

Minority leader Peter Barca voted for the bill, but is resigning his leadership post on September 30 after a closed door session with Democratic legislators earlier in the month where his colleagues demonstrated their frustration with him.

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Walker talked about the budget Wednesday in a conference call from South Korea where he is on a trade mission. "We're to the end point (in the budget process)".

Fitzgerald acknowledged Tuesday he lacks support to pass the latest version of the budget. "For me, the budget process is over".

One of the Senate GOP holdouts, Sen. As it's now written in the budget, that repeal would take effect in September 2018. Stephen Nass, R-Whitewater, said he wants to see a January 1 effective date to repeal the state's prevailing wage requirement.

"For anything that hasn't been bid out, I think you could do it as quickly as the time the budget was enacted", Walker said. They also highlighted Republicans' failure to come up with a long-term funding plan for roads and jabbed the GOP for failing to line up votes in the Senate.

Cowles said in a telephone interview Thursday that he now plans to vote "yes". The prevailing wage law sets minimum salaries for construction workers on public projects.

But Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, said the budget is "rigged against working families" and criticized it for favoring the wealthy.

Foxconn issued an unsigned statement thanking Wisconsin, saying the incentives "will help us move forward with our plans to build the state-of-the-art advanced display manufacturing campus".

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