MADISON (WKOW) — A day after the technology company Foxconn said it was shifting from employing manufacturing jobs to research and development a news outlet in Japan reports the company plans to halt construction plans.
Governor Tony Evers and Foxconn officials are rebuking those claims saying the state is still committed to the massive project in Racine County.
On Thursday, Nikkei reported the tech company is suspending work on its proposed $10 billion dollar facility citing reports of Governor Evers attempts to “renegotiate deals” made by his predecessor Scott Walker. The paper’s source quotes a “person with knowledge of Foxconn” provided inside information.
“Foxconn decided to slow the investment pace and scale back a bit at the moment because of weakening macroeconomic conditions and the uncertainties brought by the trade war,” the article wrote.
Foxconn officials said their plans are “unchanged” and remain committed to employing 13,000 jobs despite numerous changes to what it will build and the types of jobs it will employ in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporations (WEDC) CEO Mark Hogan who helped lure Foxconn to the state is calling those claims false.
“I have been involved with the Foxconn project from day one and there never have been any side deals and the contract stands on its own,” said Hogan. “In addition, there have been no attempts by either the company or the Evers’ or Walker administrations to renegotiate WEDC’s contract.”
Hogan said he spoke with Foxconn officials earlier this week, and generally has contact with Foxconn at least once on a weekly basis.
The news comes after Foxconn announced on Wednesday it plans to shift from making high-tech television screens and instead develop a research and development hub.
Republican leadership blamed Governor Evers for the company’s change in direction saying in it’s “reacting to the wave of economic uncertainty that the new governor has brought with his administration,” said Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.
Evers’ spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff tweeted the report claiming Evers was trying to renegotiate the contract was “false.”
Claims made today that @GovEvers has tried to renegotiate the Foxconn contract are false. It is unfortunate that Republicans would rather try to make headlines with political finger-pointing than work with the governor to protect Wisconsin taxpayers.
— Melissa Baldauff (@mbaldauff) January 31, 2019
Hogan also said Evers and his team “has done a very good job of reaching out to company officials and developing a relationship that will protect our taxpayers’ interests and at the same time, give Foxconn the ability to be successful in Wisconsin.”
President Donald Trump championed Foxconn coming to Wisconsin, calling it the eighth wonder of the world. Recently the company failed to meet its target job creation goal to receive tax credits. The company has the potential of receiving $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies.