Barca Accuses GOP of Pushing Too Fast to Avoid Scrutiny
(WPR)---State lawmakers have introduced possible changes to the $3 billion dollar incentive package for tech giant Foxconn.
Assembly Republicans rolled out the proposed amendments Friday afternoon, shortly after a committee vote on the deal was scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday.
The amendments include a proposal to provide the state Department of Workforce Development $20 million in the next state budget, which is more than a month overdue, to work with state universities and tech colleges on worker training programs.
Those programs would be aimed at preparing students to work at Foxconn or related businesses.
Another proposal would encourage the company to hire Wisconsin businesses as their suppliers.
The amendment says the state's economic development agency should, "to the extent possible … encourage the business's hiring of Wisconsin residents."
Rep. Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee, who chairs the Assembly jobs committee, said giving preference to Wisconsin companies in the bill was important to him.
"However, you do run into some constitutional issues if you try to stipulate that only Wisconsin workers can get hired or only Wisconsin vendors are able to used for sales or construction," he said.
Neylon also said the proposed amendments won't change the broad strokes of the deal announced last month by Gov. Scott Walker and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou.
"The one thing that we did attempt to do is make sure that we didn't mess with or change certain agreements that were in place from the memorandum of understanding that was negotiated by Governor Walker and members of Foxconn," Neylon said.
Assembly leaders have said they are aiming for the full Assembly to vote on the bill Thursday. The state Senate is expected to hold a public hearing on the proposal Tuesday, Aug. 22.
Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) issued this statement shortly after the proposed changes were released:
“It’s remarkable that with a vote scheduled for Monday, we just received the Republican amendment. The legislature and the public will have little to no time to review these changes. It’s clear that Republicans are trying to rush through the process to avoid as much scrutiny as possible. We need strong protections for Wisconsin workers, contractors, and local communities for this deal to work. We also need to know that our environment is protected and that we have strong measures that allow us to get our money back if Foxconn has a change in business plans or is unable to deliver. It’s clear that Republicans are trying to appear proactive without actually fixing the concerns that many people have with this bill.”