Local estimate says Foxconn could be worth $500 million, could still cost Wisconsin taxpayers
Despite delays and controversy, Foxconn founder Terry Gou is hopeful the Mount Pleasant can reach its valuation as well as start production this year.Image By: Courtesy of Creative Commons
Local officials report that Foxconn’s development in Southwestern Wisconsin will be worth more than $500 million within the next year, but there are still worries it won’t reach that valuation.
Foxconn — the world’s largest electronic manufacturing service — announced it would establish a plant in Wisconsin in 2017. Since then, the project has faced various setbacks and political controversy due to agreements of up to $4 billion in incentive payments encouraged by former Gov. Scott Walker.
In the value estimate calculated by a team of consultants, Foxconn’s project and other developments in Mount Pleasant could be worth $522 million — 37 percent of the $1.4 billion value the district is supposed to achieve by 2023, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
However, the same calculation was met with skepticism that Foxconn would be unable to create its projection of the 13,000 new jobs by 2023, leading to criticism from Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh.
"It sounds to me like this is another attempt to minimize how far this project has fallen short," Hintz said.
In these ‘what-if’ scenarios, local officials have predicted that if the project does fall short, the development would not create any more value after it hit the $500 million mark in the tax incremental financing district. If the project were to face more setbacks, officials predict that state taxpayers would have to cover about $120 million in debt to local governments.
Despite the controversy and delays to Foxconn’s plan, construction of the roof and the exterior of the main manufacturing facility in Mount Pleasant was completed before the start of the year.
Foxconn’s founder Terry Gou is hoping the Mount Pleasant factory will start creating products this year.
“I hope many Hon Hai colleagues will go work in the U.S. to help America boost manufacturing and build a supply chain,” Gou said.
Foxconn’s development of the plant was celebrated by former Gov. Walker and President Donald Trump as a symbol of increase in American industry after its announcement in 2017, but after Gov. Tony Evers won in 2018, the project faced skepticism from Democrats.
Evers warned Foxconn they will not qualify for state subsidies if they don’t reach its goal or change its agreement with the state. Yet, Foxconn still insists it is committed to the Mount Pleasant project and is meeting the terms of its deal.Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter