Trump Touts Return of U.S. Manufacturing Jobs at Foxconn Groundbreaking
3:43 pm ET June 28, 2018 (Dow Jones) Print
By Shayndi Raice
MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. -- President Donald Trump said that a $10 billion Foxconn Technology Group mega plant that broke ground in Wisconsin on Thursday is evidence that manufacturing jobs are coming back to America, a key part of his election-year promises.
"As Foxconn has discovered, there is no better place to build, hire and grow than right here in the U.S.," said Mr. Trump, at an event hosted by the Taiwanese company about 25 miles south of Milwaukee in the southeast corner of the state.
It's been nearly a year since Mr. Trump announced in a White House ceremony that the Apple Inc. supplier would be opening a 20 million-square-foot complex and create up to 13,000 jobs in the state. In return, Wisconsin is offering nearly $4 billion in state and local economic incentives.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Foxconn will help Wisconsin keep talent and attract new millennials to the state. With record low unemployment of 2.8%, Wisconsin is suffering from a worker shortage and has seen slow population growth.
"This will make us a brain-gain state, not a brain-drain state," said Gov. Walker.
The southeastern part of Wisconsin, where the Foxconn facility will be located, is being dubbed the Wisconn Valley.
"To Silicon Valley and Boston, Wisconn Valley is coming," Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou said at the event.
Mr. Trump spoke to a crowd of several hundred business people, state and local officials who explored Foxconn displays its technology throughout the building before and after the speeches. The company set up manufacturing lines with workers so visitors could see how its plant would ultimately function. The crowd was milder than Mr. Trump's campaign-style rallies. He got some applause when he veered off topic on issues like the Supreme Court, taxes and regulations but the mood was more professional than rowdy.
Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., is the world's largest contract electronics maker. In Wisconsin, the company plans to build liquid-crystal display panels like the kinds used in TVs, self-driving cars and notebook computers and ultimately larger screen displays.
The state incentive package for Foxconn has increased since it was first announced. It includes $2.85 billion in tax credits if the company fulfills its promise on hiring and capital investment and $150 million in sales-tax exemptions. The Village of Mount Pleasant and Racine County provided a separate incentive package worth $764 million. The state is also spending $134 million on fixing state and local roads around the Foxconn site.
Mr. Walker's critics in the state legislature have taken issue with the large incentive package for Foxconn, saying it is a waste of taxpayer money. An independent fiscal analysis last year found taxpayers wouldn't recoup their investment until the 2042-43 fiscal year.
State Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, a La Crosse Democrat, said the deal was the largest state taxpayer-funded giveaway to a foreign corporation. "Families and seniors in every corner of the state are being stuck with a massive bill at a time when our schools, roads, and communities are being shortchanged," she said.
Gov. Walker has said the project's potential to transform the state's economy makes the large package worth the investment.
Write to Shayndi Raice at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 28, 2018 15:43 ET (19:43 GMT)
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