Walker suggests new taxpayer incentives possible for Kimberly-Clark
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker in a tweet suggested a new taxpayerfunded incentive package could be possible for Kimberly-Clark, but his office won’t release details regarding the effort.
Earlier this week, the state Senate decided not to take up a $70 million plan to keep or create 440 jobs in the Fox Valley at a plant that makes Depends undergarments and other personal care products.
And on Friday, Walker tweeted: “Now I’m trying to figure other ways to keep them here.”
But Walker’s office and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. won’t divulge any details about the governor’s effort, so it’s not clear how much money would be offered and whether it would be done in a way that would require the Republican-controlled Legislature to return for another lame-duck session to approve the measure before Democrat Tony Evers becomes governor in early January.
“WEDC Secretary Mark Hogan has been actively engaged with KimberlyClark since Day One in an effort to ensure the company’s continued presence in the Fox Valley,” WEDC spokesman Mark Maley said. “However, WEDC does not comment on the status of pending or potential economic development opportunities.”
Walker tweeted after WisPolitics reported Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said Walker asked Hogan to pursue a package for Kimberly-Clark separate from the legislation that stalled in his chamber.
“I’ve been told there’s a lot of action that is still going on between WEDC and Kimberly-Clark,” Fitzgerald told WisPolitics.
Spokeswomen for Kimberly-Clark did not respond to questions about Walker’s plans.
Kimberly-Clark announced in January it planned to shed up to 5,500 employees and close or sell 10 plants worldwide.
Among those targeted for closure are its facilities in Neenah and Fox Crossing, and Walker and lawmakers sought to save the Wisconsin jobs.
The company has said it will close the Neenah facility, which employed about 110 people earlier this year. It has left open the option of keeping open the Fox Crossing facility known as the Cold Spring plant that earlier this year had about 500 jobs.
The failed incentive package would have saved 388 jobs and allowed the company to hire 52 more workers, for a total of 440 jobs, according to John Deitrich, vice president of global manufacturing for Kimberly-Clark.
Like most manufacturers in Wisconsin, Kimberly-Clark pays virtually no state corporate income tax.