Monday, July 31, 2017

For Foxconn, GOP Team Walker bets your farm, breaks the bank(s)

In round numbers, there are about 360,000 people in various cities, villages and towns in the counties of Racine and  Kenosha, and also about 600 people in the Jackson County Town of Northfield on the other side of the state, and all of them have a vested interest in the $3 billion from various public funding pots which Walker and his fellow Republicans want to throw at Foxconn.

Which is why Republicans are planning a quick, special Foxconn-related Legislative session to start writing big checks even though the usually-routine approval of state's 2017-'19  budget is now a month late principally over how to pay for his party's excessive highway program which Republican Walker has helped under-finance since 2003.

Walker is adamantly opposed to beginning to fix the problem by raising the gasoline tax.

Fake fiscal conservative that he is, Walker prefers borrowing (and betting on more federal dollars, a pipe dream given Trump's non-existent infrastructure package), while Assembly GOP Speaker Robin Vos also flushed his conservative credentials by backing a gas tax increase and Senate GOP Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, a full-time Walker valet, is firmly in Walker's-borrow-and-stick-it-to-the grandkids' camp.

Note, however, that Walker tossed 250 million borrowed dollars into the $3 billion deal for Foxconn via the state budget whenever its approved to hurriedly complete the over-built, under-funded reconstruction and expansion of I-94 though Racine and Kenosha Counties which Vos had been demanding even before Foxconn made the news.

Two things about a quarter of a billion dollars which Walker is treating like campaign-support Kohl's coupon cash:

*  Is $250 million in dedicated borrowing for highway work right through portions of Vos' district enough of a concession to get him off Walker's back; Walker will never budge off the no-new taxes bumper sticker he needs to frame his '18 re-election campaign, so maybe it's time for Vos to to take the $250 million bouquet and live with being another modern Wisconsin borrow-and-spend Republican.

*  $250 million could have repaired most or all potholes on our state's rutted and poorly-ranked roads, which is why it would be useful to ask the good people of cash-strapped Northfield, Wisconsin across the state from Vos' district where the main road has crumbled back to gravel what they think about Walker and Co. throwing around staggering amounts of public highway borrowing like kids at the county fair ring-toss booth which all the people of the state will have to repay.

And speaking of what local folks think, remember that Walker's break-the-bank, bet-the farm Foxconn plan also will require unnamed municipalities gaining some or all of the electronics firm's buildings to contribute to-be-determined local financing through the borrowing procedure known as Tax Incremental Financing, or TIF.

Through TIF, a municipality borrows to construct streets, sidewalks, street lights, parking and other enhancements for a development, then repays itself with the fresh property taxes a project (hopefully) generates.

The catch is that until the borrowing is paid off over years and decades, that increment - - the project-spurred tax payment growth - - must go to pay down the TIF loan payments and does not flow to local governmental services, like schools, police, fire or public health program costs.

Communities have state-imposed limits on the TIF borrowings they can take on - - but not to worry faux fiscal conservative Vos is saying that the legislature will amend state TIF law to let communities exceed their TIF limits for Foxconn projects.

I'll bet the local residents across Racine and Kenosha Counties will ask their mayors, town chair and common council members if their budgets and service needs can take the strain and limitation that come with the GOP's borrow-and-spend planning the underpins the Foxconn deal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The state of Wisconsin, which has had a series of high-profile budget battles over the past few years, is promising a $3 billion incentive package for the plant. That is three billion dollars, paid to Foxconn over a 15-year period.

To put that into perspective, Wisconsin is promising to pay Foxconn the equivalent of $66,600 per employee, based on having 3,000 workers in the plant, for each of the next 15 years, while Foxconn is promising pay of less than $54,000 a year"