Wisconsin can't afford to risk being conned by Foxconn

Wisconsin can't afford to risk being conned by Foxconn

While the announcement suggests that the new factory will be a production-line affair, Foxconn said as recently as December 2016 that it has plans to automate as much of its workforce as possible.

The Wisconsin factory, scheduled to be open by 2020, would be massive.

That works out to a rough cost to the state of about $230,700 per worker, assuming the factory goes on to generate 13,000 jobs.

Walker first contacted Ryan last month about the possibility of luring Foxconn to Wisconsin, and over the next few weeks, they began negotiating with Terry Gou, Foxconn's chairman, and executives to encourage them to choose the area, according to an aide to Ryan.

Seven states had competed for the plant.

The 20 million square-foot campus, or "ecosystem" as Walker calls it, has not yet been placed, but Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett alluded that it will use Great Lakes water in his opening remarks during the event, which means Racine or Kenosha Counties are likely.

The coming plant represents a political victory for Walker, who bills himself a jobs creator and who faces re-election next year, as well as for President Donald Trump, who has made American manufacturing central to his economic agenda.

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Foxconn is the biggest contract assembler of smartphones and other devices for Apple and other brands.

The incentives would only be awarded if Foxconn creates the jobs and pays an average yearly wage of almost $54,000. It has been eyeing building the plant in a part of Wisconsin represented by Ryan, who said he has met with company officials at his request. Foxconn promised in 2013, for example, to invest $30 million and hire 500 workers for a new, high-tech factory in Pennsylvania that was never built. But Walker says Foxconn will have to fulfill its promises to get it.

But Peter Barca, the leader of Democrats in the state Assembly and frequent Walker foe, says one deal doesn't make an administration.

Tai Jeng-wu, CEO of Foxconn's Japanese unit Sharp Corp, said in June that six USA states were being evaluated for a possible location for a plant to make displays.

Foxconn would also be allowed to skip another $150 million in sales tax on purchases such as building goods.

Those numbers, coupled with the Foxconn investment, will help Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook argue that his company is already making a significant contribution to USA jobs, according to Andrew Rose, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

"It's going to be a big challenge to find the people to fill the jobs because right now, our employers, we constantly hear them saying we're struggling to find the people we need", Biz Times editor Andrew Weiland told WISN. "We want a win-win-win".

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