Governor Scott Walker says he wants to give Kimberly-Clark the same tax credits that were offered to Foxconn.
Kimberly-Clark plans to eventually close two plants in the Fox Valley as part of a larger restructuring effort, eliminating 600 Wisconsin jobs. Walker on Monday said he wants to ensure the company keeps the facilities in Neenah and Fox Crossing open by having lawmakers approve an increase in the tax credits available for job retention. If approved by lawmakers, the credits would increase from 7 percent to 17 percent – which is the same amount the state used to land Foxconn’s proposed factory in southeastern Wisconsin.
“The State of Wisconsin has been working closely with our local and regional economic development partners to get a better understanding of Kimberly-Clark’s decision and make a strong case for the company to retain its operations in the Fox Valley,” Walker said in a statement. “Retaining outstanding Wisconsin companies like Kimberly-Clark is just as important as attracting new companies to our state.”
State Senate President Roger Roth (R-Appleton) is working with the governor’s office to draft the legislation. He said he’s encouraged by the willingness to make the offer to Kimberly-Clark. “We have to do everything we can to fight to keep this company here,” he said. “We’re going to make sure that no stone goes unturned.”
Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) accused the governor of “dropping the ball” by trying to come up with $4.5 billion for Foxconn, while ignoring the needs of a Wisconsin business. “It’s clearly too little, too late,” she said in a statement. “Rather than trying to boost his approval rating in a tough election year, the Walker administration should have been working with Wisconsin companies before these closings and layoffs became unavoidable.”
Assembly Democratic Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) was also critical of the plan, saying it sounds like “another deal crafted on the back of a napkin” and it’s a sign he will say anything he can to try to get re-elected in November. “The question everyone should be asking the Governor is, ‘What will you do when the next corporation threatens to leave the state unless they get the FoxConn deal?'”
Affiliate WHBY contributed to this report.