Votes to begin Monday on Foxconn incentive package

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MADISON, Wis. - Votes will begin Monday on a massive incentive package to bring Taiwanese tech company Foxconn to Wisconsin.

Assembly leaders announced a 3 p.m. committee vote Monday and a number of planned changes to the bill Friday afternoon.

The deal being made to bring Foxconn to the state totals $3 billion.

Assembly leaders say they negotiated changes in a substitute amendment, that include provisions to create a pipeline of workers to backfill jobs that might be emptied at other companies, ensure wetland mitigation happens close to the plant location and try to ensure Wisconsin workers are used.

"It does put language that will make sure that final contract that's negotiated between the state and Foxconn has provisions that incentivize and try to prioritize the hiring of Wisconsin-based workers when it is practically possible," Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Burlington, said in a conference call with reporters Friday.

But Senate Republicans have been asking for other changes, including more assurances of job "benchmarks."

"Where you can look two years from now and there will be 3,000 jobs, five years from now there will be 6,000 jobs," Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, told Fox Business news Friday. "We're looking for those types of benchmarks as we make this huge investment on behalf of Wisconsin."

Vos said his caucus would be open to changes, but said they were not convinced it was necessary.

"I think we know that until a shovel is in the ground or a paycheck is cashed that no one is going to receive any financial benefit," Vos said. "That's why for us that was an adequate protection but if there are other ways that we could do that that doesn't harm the project or somehow derail it I think we'd be open to listening."

Both Vos and Fitgerald assured there were votes in both of their caucuses to approve the measure.

A vote is scheduled in the full assembly for Thursday.

But late Friday Democrats were expressing concerns over the timeline, and the planned committee vote Monday.

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, accused Republicans of trying to "rush the process to avoid as much scrutiny as possible." Barca has generally been a supporter of the Foxconn deal thus far in the process.

Assembly leaders said they were trying to work quickly and felt there was enough time for Democrats to consider the amendments.