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Foxconn: An Exciting Opportunity for Wisconsin

Over the past few months there has been a lot of talk about the pros and cons of providing tax incentives in order to attract the multinational company Foxconn to Wisconsin. I am pleased to say that this week the Legislature gave final approval to legislation that will mean Foxconn will locate in southeastern Wisconsin, bringing an entirely new industry to our state.

Started in 1974, Foxconn is a global leader in designing and manufacturing high-tech electronics, holding more than 55,000 patents and ranked No. 27 by Fortune 500. The company plans to invest $10 billion in Wisconsin on a state-of-the-art facility the size of 11 Lambeau Fields, creating as many as 13,000 family supporting jobs. This facility will be the first LCD facility outside of Asia and will be manufacturing screens for use in everything from flat-screen TVs and phones to self-driving cars and aircraft systems.

While creating job opportunities and economic growth is critical, so is protecting Wisconsin taxpayers. That is why the $3 billion in tax incentives over 15 years will be paid out only if Foxconn actually makes the capital expenditures and creates the jobs. That means Foxconn must spend money in building a plant before they receive the capital expenditure tax credit and have a payroll before they receive a jobs tax credit. Clawback provisions to be finalized in the contract between the state and Foxconn will outline what they must pay back if they cease operations or fail to meet agreed-upon employment levels.

While the direct impact of the Foxconn facility will be largely felt in southeastern Wisconsin, there is likely to be dollars spent during construction and residual jobs created far beyond the southeast. Manufacturers and suppliers throughout the state are lining up to see what opportunities are available to them by accessing www.WISupplyChainMarkeplace.com. Companies in our region have expressed their enthusiasm for the opportunity to benefit from this new industry.

Protecting our natural resources remains a priority in the Foxconn legislation. While the permitting process for environmental regulations will be streamlined, no changes have been made to air, water and waste-related standards. A more restrictive 2- to 1-acre mitigation ratio for any impacted wetlands goes beyond current wetland mitigation standards of 1.2 to 1 acre. A federal Environmental Impact Statement will be required.

Our university and college campuses are excited about the opportunity to train workers for this new industry. Not only will this be an opportunity to increase per capita income but will also help keep our graduates and workers in our state, and attract others from outside our borders.

The passage of the Foxconn legislation opens the door for jobs, economic growth and exciting development in a new industry in our state like we've never experienced before.

I welcome your feedback and input on this and other state issues. You can contact me through www.harsdorfsenate.com, or "like" my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Harsdorf.sheila.

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