It’s a groundbreaking ceremony for (a much smaller) Foxconn today. This very morning one reads confirmation – yet again – that taxpayers’ billions for Foxconn are paying for a project that’s now a giant bait & switch. Rick Romell reports Foxconn scales back plans for its first factory in Mount Pleasant:
The Foxconn Technology Group manufacturing complex that President Donald Trump helps launch Thursday in Mount Pleasant will differ significantly, at least initially, from the original plans.
While two economic-impact analyses prepared last year and the state’s contract with Foxconn say the company will build a type of factory that carves display panels out of immense sheets of wafer-thin glass, Foxconn now says it first will erect a plant that uses much smaller sheets of glass.
Such factories typically are much smaller and less-expensive than the sort of plant Foxconn originally planned, industry observers say.
Here’s that switch:
Last year, as the company was considering Wisconsin as a potential site for a massive new display panel factory, Foxconn’s consultant analyzed the impact of a “Generation 10.5” liquid crystal display plant, and shared the findings with state officials.
A second consulting firm, hired by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., also analyzed the impact of a Generation 10.5 plant to review the findings of Foxconn’s consultant.
Contracts Foxconn later signed with both the state and the local governments also refer to the “Generation 10.5” fabrication facility the company will operate.
But Foxconn no longer plans to initially build such a plant. Instead, the company first will build a “Generation 6” factory — Gen 6 in industry shorthand. Such plants are much smaller and much less costly than Gen 10.5 factories, use different machinery and turn out different arrays of products, industry watchers say.
The shift was first reported in May by Japan-based Nikkei Asian Review, in a story citing industry sources, and then by Milwaukee publication BizTimes last weekfollowing an interview with Foxconn executive Louis Woo. A Foxconn spokesman confirmed the BizTimes report.
Here’s how supine the Walker Administration is:
Asked whether Foxconn had communicated with WEDC about its change in plans for Mount Pleasant, Mark Maley, WEDC’s public affairs and communications director, said by email:
“It’s up to Foxconn — and not state government — to determine what the best use of that facility is. Foxconn is one of the largest companies in the world and has a 44-year history of success, so we’re confident it will continue to make decisions to ensure that continued success. It’s not the state’s role to get involved in the business operations of one of the largest and most successful companies in the world.”
Smaller and less costly for Foxconn; different from the contracts with the state, to the benefit of Foxconn. The WEDC’s spokesman won’t question Foxconn’s downsizing even with billions of public money spent to support that Taiwanese company. Foxconn’s not an independent third party – it’s a publicly-subsidized foreign corporation building at Wisconsin taxpayers’ expense.
Everyone on the state side of this project should be dismissed or voted from office.
Among those who should go – if competency and integrity mean anything – would be Matt Moroney, the same longtime Walker operative that Whitewater’s 501(c)(6) business league trotted out as a guest speaker on the Foxconn project. Moroney’s presentation as dutifully reported (and ludicrously unquestioned) in the Daily Union shows that neither the organization that invited him nor the paper that reported on his invitation has even a thimbleful of economic or policymaking sense. See A Sham News Story on Foxconn and Foxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers.
Flacking Foxconn won’t bring a greater Whitewater, but instead only a lesser Wisconsin.
Previously: 10 Key Articles About Foxconn, Foxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers, Foxconn Destroys Single-Family Homes, Foxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair Budget, The Man Behind the Foxconn Project, A Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the Trough, Even Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) Workforce, Foxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All, Foxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious, and Foxconn’s Shabby Workplace Conditions.