Audit finds WEDC needs to modify its tax credit policy with Foxconn

MILWAUKEE -- An audit released on Tuesday, Dec. 17 finds Wisconsin's Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) needs to modify its tax credit policy with Foxconn.

Foxconn struck a deal with the state back in 2017. Under the agreement, the tech giant would hire up to 13,000 employees at its Mount Pleasant plant. In return, the state would give Foxconn nearly $3 billion in tax credits. Those employees were to be hired over a number of years.

When calculating what Foxconn employees qualify, only those working in Wisconsin are supposed to count. According to the report, WEDC wrongly wrote guidelines that would allow Foxconn employees not doing work in the state, but who are paid in Wisconsin to count as qualifying employees.

WEDC told state lawmakers back in January, before Missy Hughes was appointed secretary, that it had complied with last year's audit -- and made the changes. But the new audit said WEDC would still wrongly allow for credits to be awarded for workers not in Wisconsin.

"LAB suggested some changes. We made those changes. LAB suggested some more changes. So those are the, that's the process. It's this evolution process. You know, I think having also a really good conversation with LAB, which we were able to do, and continuing to work together," said Missy Hughes, WEDC Secretary.

Foxconn has yet to qualify for any tax credits related to job creation. It was supposed to build a massive display screen manufacturing plant in Mount Pleasant -- but this year announced it would downsize.

Governor Tony Evers said on Tuesday, he wants Foxconn to come back to the negotiating table.

"We will sit down and talk with them about the future. But from my vantage point nothing will change," Evers said. "We're very pro-Foxconn. We want them to succeed. We want to make sure the taxpayers are well represented and accounted and we have accountability."

FOX6 News reached out to Foxconn on Tuesday. They released a statement that reads as follows:

"Foxconn is proud to have hired hundreds of hardworking employees over the last year while investing millions of dollars in the State of Wisconsin. Foxconn will continue to comply with the reporting requirements as prescribed in the agreement with WEDC for employees hired and capital expenditures during the 2019 reporting year."

The company has until April 2020 to report job totals for 2019. It would need to have hired at least 520 people to qualify for up to $221 million in credits.