Foxconn denied tax subsidies for Wisconsin plant

President Donald Trump attends Foxconn groundbreaking

President Donald Trump and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou attend the groundbreaking for the company’s plant in Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin, in June 2018.

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images

Foxconn’s plan to build an LCD factory in Wisconsin has continued to change since it was announced back in 2017, so much so that state officials reportedly rejected the supplier’s application for tax subsidies. 

Taiwan-based Foxconn is best known for assembling Apple’s iPhone and providing parts for other tech companies’ gadgets. In a 2017 announcement at the White House, Foxconn and President Donald Trump touted the Wisconsin plant, saying it would employ as many as 13,000 people. Under the original plan, the company would have also qualified for subsidies of around $3 billion. 

Expectations for the plant were later tempered, with Foxconn expected to build a smaller factory.

On Monday, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which oversees the deal, rejected the electronics maker’s application for tax subsidies because its plans are “smaller in scale and economic impact” than projected under the original agreement, according to documents obtained by The Verge. Foxconn also reportedly failed to employ the minimum number of people needed to qualify for subsidies under its original deal. The company said it had hired 550 people by the end of 2019, but WEDC estimated only 281 actually qualified under the terms of their deal, according to The Verge.  

Foxconn confirmed it hasn’t received any tax credits from Wisconsin, but said it achieved “employment levels above 520 people” as well as investing $750 million in the state. 

“Foxconn came to the table with WEDC officials in good faith to discuss new terms of agreement, which have consequential impacts to Racine County and the Village of Mount Pleasant, third-party partners in this development project,” Foxconn told CNET in an emailed statement. “WEDC’s determination of ineligibility during ongoing discussion is a disappointment and a surprise that threatens good faith negotiations.” 

In a letter Monday, WEDC CEO Melissa Hughes reportedly left the door open for a new deal to be reached for Foxconn’s plans in Wisconsin. 

“I have expressed to you my commitment to help negotiate fair terms to support Foxconn’s new and substantially changed vision for the project,” Hughes wrote, according to The Verge. 

A spokesman for WEDC pointed CNET to its open records request site but declined to comment further. 

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