Wisconsin's Dale Kooyenga helped pass legislation that gave away billions of tax dollars to foreign manufacturer Foxconn.
A Wisconsin lawmaker bragged about his support for a deal that gave away $3 billion to Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn — even though the company has a horrible track record when it comes to job creation and worker protections.
State Rep. Dale Kooyenga is running for the state Senate seat in Wisconsin’s 5th District against Democrat Julie Henszey.
Kooyenga bragged in a message to his constituents in Wisconsin’s 14th district about his support for legislation that delivered on this deal by offering huge tax subsidies.
Kooyenga described the jobs Foxconn promised to create as a “historic investment,” and claimed it would “diversify the Wisconsin economy.” He even claimed that it would help America’s “national security.”
But the deal raised red flags before Kooyenga gave it a rubber stamp in the legislature.
Foxconn has a history of wildly overpromising the number of jobs associated with its initiatives. And as The Guardian noted, “Foxconn investment agreements in Indonesia, India, Vietnam and Brazil failed to deliver completely.”
The cost-effectiveness of the agreement is also suspect. If Foxconn actually creates the roughly 13,000 new jobs it promises to, taxpayers will be on the hook for $230,000 for every job that pays a $54,000 salary.
The inducements are also going to a company with a horrible track record of mistreating its workers. At the same time, Kooyenga has historically backed “right-to-work” legislation that makes it harder to protect workers from abuse.
The legislation Kooyenga backed also allows Foxconn to be exempt from state environmental regulations. Kooyenga dismissed these concerns in his message, claiming, “I value the beauty of our great state and would not support a bill which harms that beauty.”
Kooyenga’s opponent, Henszey, slammed him in a tweet for giving Foxconn a pass on polluting: “I’m growing tired of leaders who put profits ahead of people’s health — and I’m running for State Senate to offer a better alternative.”
“We did not get a good deal with this in the beginning and now Wisconsinites are getting even less,” Henszey said.
Kooyenga voted to throw away billions of Wisconsin’s tax dollars on a raw deal with a shady company. Now he’ll have to deal with the blowback.