Calculating Wisconsin’s cost – and benefits – of landing Foxconn

What’s it worth to Wisconsin to become the U.S. hub for a global company with 1 million employees and $136 billion in annual revenue? Answer: It depends on what the state will gain vs. the size of the public investment over time. As Foxconn Technology Group investigates where it may build a next-generation production plant in the United States, Wisconsin is competing with a small number of states on factors such as physical location, transportation logistics, workforce skills, research and development expertise and supply chain potential. Wisconsin must yet compete on a package of financial incentives, such as tax credits and worker training grants, that may fall between $2 billion to more than $3 billion over two decades or more. Lest you keel over with a case of sticker stock, here’s how I arrived at the number: Almost every state has an arsenal of incentives, some of which are found at the local government level, to attract company expansion projects or to retain companies already there. Wisconsin’s biggest tools are performance-based tax credits tied to jobs and salary levels, grants to train or retrain workers, and tax incremental financing (TIF) used by local governments to finance roads, utility lines and…

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