State News: Foxconn, Lame Duck Laws

Foxconn Says It Will Build Manufacturing Plant
After a week of conflicting reports about Foxconn’s plans for Wisconsin, the company announced Feb. 1 it will move forward with its original plans to construct a manufacturing plant in Racine County.
Foxconn Technology Group released a statement saying that after a “personal conversation” between President Donald Trump and Foxconn Chair Terry Gou, the company will move forward with the planned construction of a Gen 6 fabrication facility.
The campus will serve as both an advanced manufacturing facility and a hub of high-technology innovation for the region, according to the company.
“Our decision is also based on a recent comprehensive and systematic evaluation to help determine the best fit for our Wisconsin project among TFT [thin-film transistor] technologies,” according to the statement. “We have undertaken the evaluation while simultaneously seeking to broaden our investment across Wisconsin – far beyond our original plans – to ensure the company, our workforce, the local community and the state of Wisconsin will be positioned for long-term success.”
Foxconn said it remained committed to creating 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin.

Evers: DNR Will Review Foxconn Permits

Gov. Tony Evers said Tuesday that he had directed the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to review the air and water permits granted to Foxconn.

Evers said he had told Foxconn during one of his first meetings with the company that he might direct the state to review its air and water permits for the Mount Pleasant plant. Evers said the company officials were comfortable with those plans.

“They are not concerned,” Evers said. “We need to do a very thorough overview of what that proposal was and how it was responded to before we can make any decisions [about] whether we’re worried about it. But I think Foxconn believes that they’ve done what was asked of them.”

Asked about Evers’ remarks, Foxconn Technology Group issued a statement saying it would protect Wisconsin’s quality of life and environment as it moved ahead with its Racine County plant.

Environmentalists have already filed a lawsuit in an effort to block the DNR’s approval of a plan to let Foxconn divert water to its manufacturing plant.

Unions File New Lawsuit Against Lame-Duck Laws

A coalition of unions filed a new lawsuit Monday against the laws Wisconsin Republicans passed in December’s lame-duck session, arguing the changes violate the basic separation of powers guaranteed by the state constitution.

The complaint contends the restrictions lawmakers placed on incoming Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul gave the Legislature unprecedented veto power over the executive branch.

“In the blink of an eye, the lame-duck Legislature fundamentally altered Wisconsin government by arrogating to itself powers recognized for more than 200 years as within the exclusive province of the Executive Branch, and by enabling a handful of legislators to change the law without the quorum mandated by the Constitution,” the complaint reads.

The lawsuit is the second one filed in Dane County Circuit Court against the lame-duck session. The other challenge contends the entire session was unlawful because the Wisconsin Constitution does not expressly permit the Legislature to meet in what’s known as an “extraordinary session.”

The plaintiffs in this latest case include, among others, the Service Employees International Union, AFT-Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals.

Estimate: $1.8 Billion in New Revenue for Next Budget

Gov. Tony Evers and the GOP-controlled state Legislature will have about $1.8 billion in new state-tax revenue to work with as they craft the next budget, according to a report released by the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office.

But the new projections from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau are about $282 million short of numbers released in November by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s administration.

In addition to new revenue projections, the numbers also show the state is projected to end the current budget on June 30 with nearly $700 million in the bank.

The estimates come as the Democratic governor and conservative majority at the state capitol begin the early stages of budget negotiations. They have already clashed over Evers’ commitment to include a federal Medicaid expansion in his budget proposal, as well as a middle-class tax cut financed by limiting a manufacturing tax-credit program.

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