Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers called for the state to renegotiate its contract with Foxconn Technology Group for $4 billion in investment incentives, saying the company was not likely to create the jobs it promised.
“Clearly the deal that was struck is no longer in play and so we will be working with individuals at Foxconn and of course with (the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.) to figure out how a new set of parameters should be negotiated,” Evers said to a group of reporters in his office.
Evers said it was too early to say what specific changes to the agreement his administration would seek. Foxconn announced it was building a 20-million-square-foot campus and would employ 13,000 people in Wisconsin, drawing praise from President Donald Trump.
Evers’ comments came after Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou, who is worth an estimated $8 billion, announced he was stepping down from the company to run for president of Taiwan. Gou said the sea goddess Mazu told him to “step forward and do something for the people of Taiwan,” CNN reported citing Taiwan state media.
Evers said he expected the project would go forward “whether Mr. Gou is part of that enterprise or not” but the project would be smaller.
“The present contract deals with a situation that no longer exists, so it’s our goal to make sure that the taxpayers are protected and environmental standards are protected, and we believe that we need to take a look at that contract,” Evers said.
The secretary and chief executive of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Mark Hogan, said he is in frequent contact with Foxconn.
“These ongoing discussions include consideration of the effect the company’s evolving plans may have on WEDC’s contract and our steadfast commitment to [protecting] the taxpayers of Wisconsin,” Hogan said.
Robin Vos, the speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, said he was concerned Evers was trying to undermine the agreement with Foxconn, which Vos called “ironclad.”