On October 24, Marquette Law School released polling results that gauged public support for Foxconn and the state’s $3 bill incentive package. The Marquette Law School polled 1200 individuals in the Milwaukee area (Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington, and Waukesha counties) from September 9th-17th. In general, the poll attempted to Milwaukee-area sentiment on a number of issues, including the economy, public education, regional policy issues, and race relations.
In particular, the poll asked questions related to how a new Foxconn factory in Racine County could impact on the region. 65% of respondents said the factory will not benefit them personally. 29% responded that the new factory will benefit them. However, 54% of respondents indicated they believe the new factory will substantially improve the economy in the Milwaukee area. Perhaps most surprising, only 38% of those polled said the Foxconn factory was worth the $3 billion incentive package the state provided to the company to come to Wisconsin. 48% said the state is paying more than the plant is worth.
The poll numbers indicate a split opinion among residents of southeastern Wisconsin. While a majority agree the factory is good for the economic health of the region, most believe it won’t benefit them personally and a minority believes the factory is worth the $3 billion incentive provided by the state. State officials have said the factory has the potential to employee upwards of 13,000 workers. If that comes to fruition, the plant would be a major economic driver in the state.
The plans for the factory met a hurdle last week when a vote on the Foxconn contract was delayed by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. WEDC board member Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) claimed there was a “nuclear bomb” in the deal. According to Carpenter, WEDC notified the board that there was no guarantee in the contract that the state could recover the $3 billion in tax credits if the company violated the contract. It is unclear at this time how the WEDC plans to proceed.