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Wisconsin governor says foxconn is again likely to miss job targets

Scott Cohn, for CNBC, reported; The giant Foxconn manufacturing complex planned in Wisconsin is likely to continue falling short of the threshold required to begin receiving billions of dollars in state incentives, even after production begins next year. That is according to Gov. Tony Evers, who says his administration has now gotten “clarity” from the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer on its plans — which are much less ambitious than they were originally portrayed.

“We understand what is going to be built and when it’s going to be finished — the first phase,” the governor said.

Evers spoke exclusively with CNBC in his State Capitol office in Madison on June 27, one week after paying his first visit to the construction site near Racine. The site visit was undisclosed to the public until now.

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Under the deal negotiated by Evers’ predecessor, Gov. Scott Walker, Foxconn said it would build a $10 billion manufacturing complex that President Donald Trump called “the eighth wonder of the world” at a groundbreaking one year ago.

Since then, no factory has been built, but the state and local governments already have spent tens of millions of dollars on land acquisition and road and utility improvements. The company only recently began laying the foundation for a vastly scaled-down manufacturing plant, more than a year behind schedule.

“In fact, I saw them pouring concrete the other day,” Evers said.

But the governor said the project’s initial phase will employ only about 1,500 people when production begins, which is currently scheduled for next May. That would be well short of the company’s previously announced plans to hire more than 1,800 people by the end of next year.

The company already has acknowledged that it no longer plans to produce giant glass panels for video displays at the plant, using so-called Generation 10.5 technology for which there are no facilities in the U.S. Instead, Foxconn will build a Generation 6 plant.

“They’re going to be making smaller items, probably tablets, glass for tablets and phones and things like that. Not the big TVs that they talked about initially,” Evers said.

Foxconn attributed the change to market forces. In addition, the larger displays would have required an advanced glass plant to be built nearby. The leading glass manufacturer, New York-based Corning, said it was unwilling to locate a new plant in Wisconsin without subsidies, but the state was already tapped out.