Aug 22, 2017

Wisconsin Democratic Leader under Fire for Pro-Foxconn Vote

Democratic Ass Minority Leader Peter Barca, Flaks for Foxconn, Walker, Trump

Madison, Wisconsin — The proposed $3 billion corporate give-away to the Taiwanese giant, Foxconn, doesn't have many fans in Wisconsin outside Republican Party pols.

One of the supporters is the Democratic State Assembly Minority Leader, Rep. Peter Barca, (D-Kenosha), who voted in mid-August for this unprecedented subsidy dubbed the Fox Con.

Now, Barca is drawing public criticism from progressive Democratic Assembly members, one of whom is featured in an Associated Press piece by Scott Bauer hitting the national media.

Writes the AP's Bauer:

Wisconsin Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca was branded as failing 'on all accounts' by a fellow Democrat who was 'incredibly frustrated and concerned' with his actions after Barca joined Republicans in voting for a $3 billion tax incentive package for Foxconn Technology Group.

The critic is State Rep. Lisa Subeck, (D-Madison), who like most Wisconsin Democratic legislators and gubernatorial candidates, is against the gargantuan boondoggle.

The Foxconn legislation enjoys little support in western, central and northern Wisconsin, so Barca's tactic to exacerbate historical geographical tensions could consolidate disdain for Democratic legislators already imperiled by gerrymandered redistricting.

Rep. Subeck issues a statement last week following the Foxconn vote in the State Assembly.

Subeck's statement is reproduced below:

MADISON – Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) released the following statement regarding her vote against Special Session Assembly Bill 1, which will provide a $3 billion subsidy to the Taiwanese company, Foxconn.

The $3 billion Foxconn giveaway passed today by Assembly Republicans is a bad deal for the hardworking taxpayers of Wisconsin. The price tag is too high, and the risk of providing $3 billion in corporate welfare far outweighs any likely benefit.

To be clear, I am committed to bringing good jobs to Wisconsin, but this convoluted corporate welfare scheme is not the way to do so. We can bring good jobs to Wisconsin without selling out our environment or mortgaging our children’s futures.

I voted no today to protect my constituents who will be left paying the price of this boondoggle for years to come. Governor Walker and the Republicans are all too willing to sell out Wisconsin’s future to a foreign corporation.

Unfortunately for Wisconsin, the Democratic Party as a whole has not put out a coherent message against Foxconn.

The Supeck email was sent to all Assembly Democrats last week, and was obtained by the AP, likely leaked by disgusted Democratic aides.

A hearing is scheduled today in the legislature's Joint Committee on Finance.

The Finance hearing has been moved to the tiny village of Village of Sturtevant in southeastern Wisconsin, some 100 miles away from Madison.

Aug 21, 2017

Scott Walker's Sickening Foxconn Boondoggle

Net benefits calculated as increased tax revenue minus state
payments under August 2017 Special Session Assembly Bill 1,
(dark blue), and cumulative (purple), in millions of dollars,
by fiscal year (2018 indicates FY 2018-19).
Source: Legislative Audit Bureau,, via EconBrowser.
Update: Walker adminstration caught suppressing data on the Fox Con; story ignored but in a rational political culture would dominate journalistic coverage:
Madison, Wisconsin — Macro-economics and state policy guru, Jake's Econ, demonstrates the folly of the Fox Con in his latest analysis.

Long after Gov. Scott Walker has moved from his long slurping off the public spigot, long after Walker has cashed in on anti-public corporate money, Wisconsin will be facing a dangerous deficit from the proposed $3 billion Foxconnn give-away, if Walker gets his way and signs the Fox Con bill.

Jake cites Menzie Chinn, Professor of Public Affairs and Economics at the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, (University of Wisconsin-Madison), at Econbrowser.

Chinn notes the "uncertainty" that exists around Foxconn corporate conduct and the volatility of the market of Foxconn LCD tv screens, for example.

Wisconsin breaking even over decades is unlikely, so Chinn posits the necessity of intellectual honesty in accessing the Foxconn-Trump-Walker initiative.

Writes Chinn:

The fact that this venture does not seem to be a big positive for Wisconsin seems to match the literature that indicates state tax incentives to relocate businesses do not typically have big payoffs. From a survey by Buss (2001):
Tax literature, nowin hundreds of publications, provides little guidance to policy makers trying to fine-tune economic development. Taxes should matter to states, but researchers cannot say how, when, and where with much certainty. Firms may need tax incentives to increase their viability in some locations, but researchers cannot definitively say which businesses or which locations.
Perhaps more relevant to this specific case:
… declining companies tended to take advantage of programs targeted toward distressed areas, whereas growth companies tended to locate in non-distressed counties. Tax incentives made distressed areas worse or no better off, whereas non-distressed areas always improved ... .
Question: Will we be watching LCD tv screens in 27 years?
In 27 years, it won't matter. Walker and Republicans will be gone from public office, living off a public pension and the people still around Wisconsin then can clean up the fiscal, environmental and economic catastrophe

Scott Walker and his gang will be doing just fine, and that's what really matters.

Aug 19, 2017

Wisconsin Republicans Move Foxconn Hearing to SE Village of Sturtevant

Boondoggle in Badger State

Madison, Wisconsin — Republicans on the legislature's Joint Committee on Finance have moved a scheduled Aug 22 public hearing on the $3 billion-to-Foxconn bill to the village of Sturtevant, (population 6,970), in southeastern Wisconsin in a continuing effort to hide the unpopular corporate give-away from public scrutiny.

The move is critical to the broader Republican strategy to discourage public participation on the proposed massive give-away to the Taiwanese corporation, Foxconn.

Earlier this month Republicans stacked a previous legislative hearing with supporters, and would not allow public testimony of residents holding anti-Foxconn views until near the end of the hearing. Because of the scale and impact of the unprecedented public subsidy to Foxconn, Republicans need to protect themselves from the population's wishes and concerns about the $3 billion give-away.

"Noone is surprised by what Republicans are doing to quell public participation and voicing of public sentiment," said Jackie Captain, a native of Wisconsin Rapids now living in Dane County, "The Foxconn madness has to be done in the dark because the bill simply cannot stand the scrutiny of the light of day."

Clean water proponents in central and northern Wisconsin want the $3 billion dollar Foxconn subsidy as much as they want to take a trip to Sturtevant.

From the Wisconsin Joint Committee on Finance


Notice of Public Hearing -- August 22, 2017

The Joint Committee on Finance will hold a public hearing on the following items at the time and location specified below:
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
11:00 AM
SC Johnson iMET Center
Gateway Technical College
2320 Renaissance Boulevard
Sturtevant, WI 53177

August 2017 Special Session Senate Bill 1

Relating to: authorizing the creation of an electronics and information technology manufacturing zone and, in connection with that zone, authorizing certain tax benefits, creating special provisions for tax incremental districts, creating exemptions from wetland and waterway permits and Public Service Commission certificates; making changes to the enterprise zone tax credit program, authorizing limited use of the design-build construction process, authorizing certain counties to issue debt backed by sales and use tax revenue, facilitating a worker training and employment program, making changes to town incorporation procedures, granting contingent highway bonding authority, and making appropriations.

ALBERTA DARLING                        JOHN NYGREN

Senate Chair                                        Assembly Chair

Aug 18, 2017

Wisconsin Assembly Votes for $3 billion to Foxconn, Senate Vote Looms

Madison, Wisconsin — Facing mounting public opposition, the Wisconsin State Assembly voted decisively to give a Taiwanese corporation, Foxconn, some $3 billion in public funds.

Defecting Democratic assembly members voting for the unprecedented legislation include Rep. Peter Barca, (D-Kenosha), a noted corporatist and the minority leader of the Assembly Democrats, widely disdained across the state.

Writes Allen Ruff of Madison on Facebook

Concerned about the repercussions in their home Racine and Kenosha districts and in absolute disregard for mounting criticism and critiques of the Republican-proposed project on numerous levels—economic, fiscal, environmental— these three Democrats, (Reps. Cory Mason of Racine and Peter Barca and Tod Ohnstad of Kenosha), opted for the low road of political expediency. They, perhaps more so than the vile conservatives and piratical free-marketeers touting the panaceas and false promises of this mega-venture, should long be remembered and penalized for their complicity.

No political observer was surprised by the Assembly vote, nor the defections of Reps. Mason, Barca and Ohnstad.

The next step is a hearing in the Joint Committee on Finance next week.

The date, time and place of the hearing to this date on August 18, is being kept from the public to discourage participation.

Democratic members of the legislature speculate the Republicans may move to a secret executive session despite or perhaps because of the magnitude of the legislation.

The Foxconn legislation also faces a vote in the State Senate.

A public rally in opposition to the Fox Con bill is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. today at the state Capitol in Madison.

Aug 17, 2017

Wisconsin Resident Wants Foxconn Referendum

A state that is too broke to repair roads or support public
education somehow has piles of $ for an exploitative Taiwanese
company? (Twitter)
Pictured above is anti-Foxconn sign by the Overpass Light Brigade,
overlooking an unidentified highway in Milwaukee in
Madison, Wisconsin — A Ridgeway, Wisconsin resident is speaking for many in demanding consent and due diligence on the largest swindle in Wisconsin history, a $3 billion give-away to Foxconn.

Republicans led by Donald Trump, Gov. Scott Walker and Rep. Paul Ryan, (R-Janesville, Wisconsin), say an unprecedented bill must be passed by the state legislature by Sept 30, or Wisconsin misses out.

From a letter from the Wisconsin State Journal:

As a lifelong resident of the once great state of Wisconsin, I would like to have the Foxconn deal put on the ballot as a referendum to the people of this state.

It is our billions of dollars, and we should have the right to decide how we would like that money spent. The referendum should be simple and clearly stated to give the taxpayers and voters the choice.

Penny Koerner, Ridgeway

Wisconsin Republicans know an advisory referendum on the proposed $3 billion give-away would face overwhelming defeat at the polls. So, the chance of a Foxconn referendum coming from the gerrymandered legislature is nil