If you're a semi-literate Republican governor, underwater in the polls and facing reelection next year, what do you do?
Why, you bust your state's budget to pull off the political con job of your life, of course!
A few weeks ago, Scott Walker, along with Trump and Lyin' Paul Ryan announced this "big job creating" deal with Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn. So what if it will cost $1 million per job? So what if it rolls back all environmental regulations and oversight? It's a good deal because JOBS! And that's if the deal even goes through and if Foxconn keeps their word about it, which they have a poor history of doing.
But now even more sordid details of how the deal came to be made is being revealed.
Foxconn CEO Terry Gou was looking at least four states to build their plant in. When he met with Walker, he realized he had a real patsy on his hand and set about seeing how much of a rube Walker really is.
In a deal that started with the state offering $1.25 billion to the company, it quickly escalated to $3 billion as Gou continued to reel Walker in. Of course, Walker doesn't want the public know what a gullible fool he was and so had redacted much of the deal-making:
The Walker administration has yet to say whether the increase in the plant's size and employment reflects a change in the company's business plans or a simple increase in the state's subsidy.
It's not entirely clear, however, how much the state increased its proposal because the governor's office blacked out certain parts of a June 2 offer from a Walker administration official to a Foxconn representative.
In the letter from Mark Hogan, the head of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., to consultant Brian Smith of Ernst & Young, Hogan offers the company $1.25 billion in "state and local incentives." But the words to either side of that amount are redacted — it appears a second dollar amount has been hidden but that could not be confirmed because of the redaction.
A second June 26 letter from Hogan to Smith did spell out that one portion of the state's incentive package had increased substantially.
The state's June 2 offer would have paid Foxconn 10 cents in cash for every $1 in qualifying wages the company paid to workers, this letter says. The final deal offered to Foxconn would pay the company 17 cents for every $1 in wages.
Normally, the state offers to offer no more than 7 cents for every $1 in wages.
Walker's spokesman Tom Evenson said the governor's office had blacked out parts of the state's June 2 and June 26 offers because it could hurt the "competitive nature of the project." He didn't explain how releasing details from the state's outdated offer would hurt the state's competitiveness when the current offer has been released in its entirety.
But there's more. There's always more.
Walker was so eager to have this talking point for his reelection, he signed off on the deal with a handwritten note on his stationary:
And just in case you thought it was just good governing and not a political stunt, Walker tipped his hand last week when he lied about why Foxconn reneged on their deal with Pennsylvania. Walker claimed that it was because Pennsylvania switched from a Republican governor to a Democratic one. PolitiFact called his explanation for what it was - false. There has been no movement by Foxconn for over a year.
About the same amount of time until Wisconsin chooses whether to keep Walker or throw him out with the rest of the trash.