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Foxconn’s bid for tax subsidies rejected by Wisconsin officials

Wisconsin state officials have reportedly rejected Foxconn’s application for tax subsidies because the company’s plans for a factory in the state were smaller than initially proposed.

Foxconn, known as one of Apple’s key iPhone assembly partners, touted the Wisconsin plant project as one that would eventually employ as many as 13,000 people in the local economy. Since its announcement, the project has been troubled by slow progress and discrepancies in its plans.

On Monday, The Verge reported that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation had rejected Foxconn’s application for tax subsidies, citing the fact that its plans are “smaller in scale and economic impact” than it originally planned.

Similarly, documents obtained by The Verge also show that the contract electronics maker failed to reach the minimum employment quota necessary to even receive tax subsidies.

The Taiwanese company needed to employ at least 520 people by the end of 2019. Although it said it hired about 550, the WEDC estimates that only about 281 would actually qualify toward the necessary number.

In other words, Foxconn isn’t building the 20-million-square-foot LCD “Gen 10.5” factory that it had promised. That the plant wouldn’t live up to expectations, in fact, became clear even as President Donald Trump broke ground on the project in June 2018.

Foxconn said in July 2019 that it would open the plant in May 2020 with just 1,500 jobs, about 300 short of the number necessary to secure subsidies. That timeline has since been pushed back to sometime in 2020, though an exact date isn’t clear.

In a letter on Monday, WEDC CEO Melissa Hughes suggested that the door was still open for a new deal, stating that she was still committed to “help negotiate fair terms to support Foxconn’s new and substantially changed vision for the project.”


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