New North, Chamber urge passage of K-C tax incentive bill

Posted by of Insight Publications

Two area economic development organizations are encouraging the Wisconsin Senate to take up and pass a bill to provide Kimberly-Clark Corp. with tax incentives to keep its Cold Spring facility in Fox Crossing open.

Both the New North, Inc. and the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce released statements today in support of legislation creating a tax incentives package, which could total between $100 million and $115 million over 15 years.

Earlier this year, Kimberly-Clark announced plans to close the Cold Spring facility and its Neenah Non-wovens facility as part of its global restructuring efforts. After the announcement, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation developed a tax incentives plan offering a 17 percent tax credit, which is more than double the 7 percent currently allowed by the state. The State Assembly approved a bill allowing that change – AB 963 – but it stalled in the State Senate.

In July, the United Steelworkers and Kimberly-Clark reached a new bargaining agreement including union concessions that would go into effect if the plant remained open. Following the vote, the WEDC and Gov. Scott Walker then urged the State Senate to revisit AB 963 at a special session this fall since it is not scheduled to meet again until January. The Cold Spring facility employs about 400.

The Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce issued a statement today asking the Senate to approve AB 963.

“Our community relies on consumer products manufacturing companies, like Kimberly-Clark, to provide high-paying jobs, not only as a direct employer, but through their greater economic impact,” Kathi Seifert, board chair of the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “The fight for jobs is greater than ever and we can’t afford to lose jobs to states who are more than happy to provide the economic conditions companies require.”

Keeping the plant open would be a “huge win” for Northeast Wisconsin, New North Executive Director Jerry Murphy said in a statement.

“We readily support all efforts to retain the operation, including necessary incentives,” he said. “A great amount of effort has been put forth by local and state elected officials and by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to find an effective legislative solution. We applaud that work and are hopeful that final steps can be taken to save the jobs, most of them union-affiliated.”

The Neenah Non-wovens facility, which employs about 90, is still slated for closure.