Assembly passes bill offering Kimberly Clark tax credits

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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - The state Assembly voted Thursday night in favor of passing a Republican led incentives package for Kimberly Clark if the company keeps jobs within the state.

That vote came by a margin of 56-37.

The bill has many of the same tax credits in it that Foxconn received for building a plant in southeastern Wisconsin.

In January, Kimberly Clark said it's closing Neenah Nonwovens and Cold Spring is a part of its global restructuring plan.

The plant closures would impact more than 600 workers.

In an effort to persuade the company to reconsider closing the plants, the bill would provide the company with a 17 percent tax credit for jobs paying between $30,000 and $100,000.

However it would cost taxpayers between $100 million and $115 million over a 15 year period.

During the debate Rep. Jim Steineke, a Kaukauna Republican said, "So this bill is an effort to stabilize their presence here and ensure that those family sustaining jobs are here today, are here tomorrow, and are here for the next generation and hopefully the next 146 years."

However Rep. Amanda Stuck disagreed.

The Appleton Democrat said, "There's nothing to prove that these tax credits actually do anything to keep these jobs here. They're also eligible for the [Manufacturing and Agriculture] tax credit, so again another failed tax credit program that did nothing to keep jobs here."

Many Democrats have issues with the cost of this bill and have suggested instead that a special papermaker fund be created which would help mills upgrade their facilities for in-demand brown paper products and make the mills more energy efficient.

The Senate is expected to vote on the Kimberly-Clark tax credit next. However, the Senate won't be in session again until March 20.

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