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Pocan To Lawmakers: Take A Close Look At Foxconn Deal

Congressman Says Incentive Package Could Be A 'Taxpayer Boondoggle'

U.S. Rep Mark Pocan speaks at a press conference
U.S. Rep Mark Pocan speaks at a press conference in Madison, Wis. Laurel White/WPR

Wisconsin Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan is urging state lawmakers to take a close look at the tax incentive package aimed at luring Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn to the state.

Pocan said Wednesday lawmakers need to make sure the Foxconn deal isn’t a “taxpayer boondoggle” before they approve an incentive package worth $3 billion over the next 15 years.

“Do they know how many jobs are going to be created for sure? Are they willing to tier in incentives based on that? Are they willing to do incentives based on the pay? That’s what they should be doing, if they want to be legislators as opposed to sycophants,” Pocan said.

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The incentive package also includes ways for Foxconn to avoid some state environmental regulations.

The proposed manufacturing facility could employ up to 13,000 people. Pocan said if Foxconn delivers on that number of good-paying jobs, the facility would be an “extremely good thing” for the state.

A state Assembly hearing on the incentives is scheduled for Thursday.

Affordable Care Act Debate

Pocan also said Wednesday he’s not sure if Congress will be able to advance bipartisan changes to the Affordable Care Act before the end of September. That’s a deadline for insurers to sign contracts with the government to provide health plans through ACA exchanges.

Insurance companies have been pushing Congress for more certainty about the future of Obamacare before they make such commitments.

Pocan said he doesn’t know how President Trump will handle the situation.

“It’s like he’s running the world’s biggest reality show, it’s just the ratings really suck right now, and so he’s trying to figure out how to boost them,” he said. “I feel like that’s what I’m going through every single day when I’m out there. So, who knows if he thinks the ratings get a bump if he works in a bipartisan way on health care, even if he’s going to pull the rug later, he might do it.”

U.S. Senate hearings on possible changes are expected to begin the first week of September.

If insurers don’t get the stability they’re seeking, tens of thousands across the country stand to lose coverage.