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Foxconn bill receives praise and criticism in public hearing

Representatives of many of the state’s business associations, universities and advocacy groups -- as well as some independent speakers -- recently weighed in on the Foxconn bill at a public hearing in Madison.

The Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy heard testimony for nearly 10 hours on Thursday evening. Some testified in support of the Foxconn plan, citing long-term economic benefits, while others expressed concerns about environmental impacts and the burden on Wisconsin taxpayers.

Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council:
“If this legislation passes, Wisconsin will no longer be a flyover state. It will be a destination state. What took decades to build in the Silicon Valley and the Research Triangle of North Carolina will be built inside a decade here if Foxconn comes to Wisconsin.”

Gale Klappa, chairman of WEC Energy Group and co-chair of Milwaukee 7:
“The potential impact for manufacturing leadership, economic growth and family-sustaining career opportunities is beyond anything Wisconsin has ever seen.”

The Sierra Club’s John Muir Chapter:
“Removing permit requirements and environmental review will open the door to many avoidable negative environmental outcomes.”

Teig Whaley-Smith, director of administrative services on behalf of Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele:
“The investment by Foxconn will also be a boon for existing companies within Milwaukee County. For example, Rockwell Automation has already announced a partnership with Foxconn… we fully expect additional collaborations with our world class institutions.”

Rep. Jimmy Anderson (D-Fitchburg):
“Under the current proposal, the legislature completely abdicates its responsibility to hold Foxconn accountable. The clawback provision that Governor Walker says will protect Wisconsin taxpayers is not mandatory and gives wide leeway to the WEDC to deliver benefits to Foxconn.”

Suzanne Kelley, president and CEO of the Waukesha County Business Alliance:
“We have a strong manufacturing base in Waukesha County, and many of our manufacturers can supply the components Foxconn would need.”

Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce:
“The economic impact from this incentive package swells well beyond the physical location of the plant, rippling across the state.”

Mike Browne, deputy director of One Wisconsin Now:
“Make no mistake, allowing this project to be undertaken with no environmental impact statements and giving a corporate carte blanche to, for example, fill wetlands and divert streams will be precedent-setting.”

See all written testimony here: http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/lc/hearing_testimony_and_materials/2017/au7_ab1/au7ab0001_2017_08_04.pdf


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