February 6, 2018
Republican Gov. Scott Walker says he wants to increase the amount of state handouts to Kimberly-Clark Corp. after the papermaker announced it would cut 600 Wisconsin jobs.
Meanwhile, legislative Democrats want to provide $60 million in state aid for Wisconsin papermakers to upgrade their mills.
The dueling aid pitches came Monday after Kimberly-Clark said it would eliminate as many as 5,000 jobs company wide, including about 600 jobs at its plants in Neenah and Fox Crossing.
Walker said he wants to give the paper company the same level of tax credits per job as a deal passed last year to lure Foxconn to Wisconsin.
Part of the Foxconn legislation approved by the GOP-controlled legislature and Walker requires the state to cover 17 percent of Foxconn employee salaries that are between $30,000 and $100,000 a year. That’s what Walker wants to do for Kimberly-Clark. Currently, other companies that get tax credits for job retention are limited to 7 percent of company salaries between $30,000 and $100,000 a year.
Kimberly-Clark executives and other employees contributed a total $14,645 to legislative and statewide candidates between January 2010 and June 2017, including $5,340 to Walker. Nearly $2 of every $3 in campaign contributions from the company went to Republicans – about $9,200 versus about $5,450.
Overall, the paper industry contributed about $225,800 to legislative and statewide candidates between January 2010 and June 2017, including about $81,500 to Walker. Current legislators received about $59,350 from the industry, including $54,200 to Republican lawmakers and nearly $5,200 to Democratic legislators.
Foxconn, a Taiwanese high-tech company, could receive up to $3 billion in state tax credits to open a $10 billion manufacturing plant in Racine County that could create up to 13,000 jobs.