By Seth Gellman

Source: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics maker, announced in 2017 that they would build a massive electronics factory in Wisconsin. It was touted by then-President Donald Trump as the “eighth wonder of the world.” And there was good reason to be hyped up for it: it had a pledged investment of $10 billion and 13,000 new jobs.

Foxconn and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. signed a new deal that would cut investment down to $672 million and create fewer than 1,500 jobs. 

Then-Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers campaigned against the deal in 2018, arguing that it cost taxpayers too much. He won that race, beating Republican and Trump ally Scott Walker to become the governor. 

When Foxconn stated that they planned to make Wisconsin a “technology hub,” rather than the factory, Trump called CEO Terry Gou before the Taiwan based company made a quick announcement that they would stick with their original plan.

The deal specifies that Foxconn can receive $80 million over six years if they meet certain hiring and capital incentives. Evers said that the new package would save Wisconsin taxpayers “a total of $2.77 billion compared to the previous contract.”

Since 2017, Foxconn has invested $900 million in the state at several different facilities. The state has spent more than $200 million on infrastructure, tax exemptions, and local governments for training.

With the deal that was called too good to be true by many falling out, Foxconn will have smaller quotas to fill and a smaller investment to make. The company hasn’t decided on what the plant will become. After making face masks for much of the pandemic, Foxconn now says that it will follow digital infrastructure to make its decision, a vague description. Evers touts the new deal as more realistic and safe for Foxconn. Observers will be watching what they use the plant for in the future.