Government should forgo gold shovels, oversized scissors

Arizona Capitol Times
Friday, March 1, 2019
Sean McCarthy

There’s nothing quite like the bipartisan schadenfreude experienced when the hubris of politicians leads to a failed business incentive deal. The Wisconsin-based Foxconn project and Amazon HQ2 in New York are dead for very different reasons. Foxconn, which once promised 13,000 jobs at a mega-plant in exchange for $4 billion in subsidies, has Trump and Scott Walker detractors snickering alongside anti-subsidy conservatives. They’re not laughing in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin.

As Foxconn walks back its promised investment to a rather pedestrian looking “technology hub,” critics are taking victory laps while locals struggle to pay for the land purchased for Foxconn.

While some of the incentives would only be realized if Foxconn meets hiring goals, they are eligible to receive refundable tax credits, meaning they can get cash from the state even if they don’t have tax liability. The Wisconsin Budget Project estimates roughly $1 billion in Foxconn assistance isn’t related to job creation at all.

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