Assembly, Senate Republicans disagree on Foxconn incentive timet - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Assembly, Senate Republicans disagree on Foxconn incentive timetable

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Madison (WQOW) -- Assembly Republicans made it clear Tuesday an incentive package for Foxconn is taking precedence over the 2017-19 state budget - even though that document is now more than one month past due - and they plan to pass legislation on it by mid-August.

Both Senate Republicans and Democratic lawmakers from both houses want to take things slower, since the Legislative Fiscal Bureau has yet to release a financial analysis of how the bill would impact the budget.

Foxconn - a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer - has agreed to invest $10 billion in a Wisconsin facility that would employ up to 13,000 people.

That investment is contingent upon the state providing tax incentives of up to $3 billion over the next 15 years and waving some key environmental regulations by Sept. 30.

"For us, the biggest priority is making sure that we have Foxconn moving along, because we know that the sooner we are able to do our due diligence on the legislation, the sooner they are able to choose a site and hopefully begin construction, start employing people," said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester).

Speaker Vos said even though Foxconn is the priority for his caucus, there could still be changes to the bill introduced last Friday.    

"We're gonna have a hearing. If it's 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 hours, they want to sit there and listen to people's concerns, make sure all those are absorbed," said Speaker Vos, who announced the hearing will be held at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy.

A vote in that committee would then be held next Tuesday, with final passage on the Assembly floor planned for the following week.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has a different plan in mind, telling the Associated Press he wants to work on passing the state budget before taking up the Foxconn incentives.

Democrats said they're cautiously optimistic about the Foxconn deal, but they join Fitzgerald in having a lot of questions why the bill is being rushed.

"Governor Walker and Foxconn are probably two of the biggest entities known for over-promising and under-performing, and that doesn't make me feel very good," said Rep. Gordon Hintz (R-Oshkosh).

Rep. Hintz and Sen. Fitzgerald both said they want to see a fiscal analysis on how the Foxconn legislation will impact the next two years of state spending before doing anything.

"The Fiscal Bureau memo said - we're unable to provide financial numbers because the administration hasn't responded yet. The fact that we would even have a hearing before we know what the numbers are raises serious questions," said Rep. Hintz.

While many Democrats remain skeptical over what they call "unprecedented" financial and environmental giveaways to Foxconn, a fair number are also expected to vote in favor of the legislation.

"I gotta tell you, people in Kenosha are very excited about this, very excited," said Rep. Tod Ohnstad (D-Kenosha).

The possible locations for the Foxconn plant are all located in either Racine County or Kenosha County.

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