Published: Sun, September 17, 2017
Industry | By Dora Warner

Wisconsin General Assembly Gives Green Light To Foxconn Deal

Wisconsin General Assembly Gives Green Light To Foxconn Deal

Since the budget passed without changes, it will go directly to Walker rather than back to the Senate.

The nine demands from the senators included speeding up repeal of the prevailing wage - that's slated to occur in September 2018 under the budget - and eliminating a provision that did away with local control over rock quarries that produce material for road and construction work. The budget was due July 1 but Republicans spent the summer quarreling among themselves over how to pay for roads before finally arriving at a plan to delay projects, borrow $400 million more and increase registration fees for hybrid and electric vehicles by $100. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says there are five or six senators who are still reticent to vote for the plan, but he hopes they will come around by Friday. Fitzgerald emerged from the meeting saying he still doesn't have the votes.

Republicans entered the day one vote short of the 17 they needed to pass the plan. The Assembly is voting on it Wednesday.

The Republican governor was in South Korea on a trade mission at the time of the vote but pledged to sign the incentives package into law soon.

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Democrats have countered by arguing the budget would benefit only the wealthy, noting that it would cut income taxes primarily for high earners but not for poor working families. As it's now written in the budget, that repeal would take effect in September 2018.

Foxconn says it also plans to "make use of the extensive supply chain in the state".

Walker said he's willing, as part of the budget, to introduce more changes to how the Wisconsin Department of Transportation operates and expedite the effective date of the prevailing wage repeal.

Both ideas have been floated by Republican senators as necessary changes to secure their votes.

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Final sign-off by the Assembly sends the measure to the project's lead champion, Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has said he wants to vote on the budget on Friday but doesn't have the votes.

"Stop asking your hardworking constituents ... to line the pockets of billionaires", said Rep. Amanda Stuck, a Democrat.

Governor Walker is expected to sign the bill in the near future. He praised the plan that passed for sending $639 million more to K-12 schools while also slightly reducing property taxes.

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