Evers and Foxconn say they’ve reached a new agreement, but there are few details

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Foxconn Technology Group vice chairman Jay Lee said Monday that the two sides have reached a new agreement on incentives for the company’s project in Mount Pleasant.

A statement from the governor’s office announcing the deal did not provide any details on the agreement and said the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. board would need to meet to approve the amended contract.

A WEDC spokesman responded to a request for a copy of the new agreement by noting the agency does not comment until its board takes action on contracts.

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Lee’s statement in the announcement did provide some insight into what the new deal includes.

“In response to unforeseeable economic conditions, Foxconn began formal negotiations with a desire to lower taxpayer liability in exchange for the flexibility to pursue business opportunities that meet market demand,” Lee said. “We are grateful to Governor Evers, Missy Hughes, and our team at Foxconn for finding a solution that can go before and be approved by the WEDC Board of Directors.”

Foxconn originally reached a deal with WEDC and former Gov. Scott Walker on a $3 billion incentive package that called for the company to build a Gen. 10.5 LCD fabrication plant in Mount Pleasant and create up to 13,000 jobs. That contract laid out aggressive timelines for the company to create jobs and make capital investments.

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However, the company’s plans have continually evolved since the project was first announced, first to a Gen. 6 LCD plant intended for smaller screens and then to a focus on advanced manufacturing.

The company opted against applying for any of its tax credits after 2018 but did seek credits for its job creation for 2020. WEDC determined that the company’s changing plans meant it was no longer ineligible for $45 million in tax credits it might have earned for job creation and investment in 2019.

WEDC had made its position known for more than a year before announcing the decision in October 2020, but the company still called it “a disappointment and a surprise.” The two sides had already been working on a new agreement and continued discussions, even as the company formally objected to the WEDC decision.

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In announcing the new deal, Evers said he was grateful for the work of people at WEDC and Foxconn for “working to find a solution that works for everyone.”

“I’ve said all along that my goal as governor would be to find an agreement that works for Wisconsin taxpayers while providing the support Foxconn needs to be successful here in our state,” Evers said.

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