MADISON, Wis. – The head of Wisconsin’s economic development agency said Friday that the full board of directors will be permitted to review a proposed $3 billion contract with Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group before voting on it.
The move comes after mounting pressure on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Until Friday, the agency said that the council would be given only a report of the staff summary of the deal, as a routine in dealing with the agency relationship. In a letter to the members of Friday, agency chief executive Mark Hogan said the members of the board of directors now have access to the contract Monday afternoon. The vote is scheduled for Wednesday.
“I have said many times, this is a complex transaction and it is important to get it done right, both for the company and its investors, as well as WEDC, the state and our taxpayers,” Hogan wrote. “We are very close to the language of the agreement, and having regard to the size of the grant, now is the time is right to make it available for you as members of the council.”
He said that the evaluation will be done in a closed session and will be confidential. The agreement will be made available to the public after it is signed.
Democrats are calling for the full contract language will be made available. Earlier this week, Republican legislative leaders in the public agreed and also said the members of the board should see the contract for a vote. A vote was postponed in October due to an unexplained issue with the language of the agreement.
The incentive package includes nearly $3 billion in cash to Foxconn as it invests $10 billion in a new flat-screen tv with a factory in southeastern Wisconsin and employs more than 13,000 people. The package was already signed by Walker provides $150 million in sales tax exemptions on construction equipment and allows the company to build up in the swamps and rivers.
Walker and supporters have heralded the deal as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the state a hub for high-tech electronics industry. Foxconn is the world’s largest contract manufacturer of consumer electronics and is best known for making iPhones.
Opponents have decried it as a giveaway at Foxconn, which says that it did not provide sufficient guarantees to protect taxpayers.