Paper industry sees investment while Kimberly-Clark deal on shaky ground

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KIMBERLY, Wis. (WBAY) - It's been a roller-coaster ride for northeast Wisconsin's paper industry over the past year.

It's seen layoffs, bankrupticies to new investment and jobs with tax dollars and credits paying for many of those investments.

Action 2 News has told you recently Green Bay Packaging is building a $500 million plant, with Brown County shelling out $5 million for infrastructure.

Monday, Midwest Paper Group pledged to add 321 jobs at the former Appleton Coated Site. The state pledged nearly two million dollars in tax credits.

However, the deal between the state and Kimberly-Clark to keep at least one Fox Valley Plant open is on shaky ground.

Senator Roger Roth (R-Appleton) believes the incentives bill he sponsored can save hundreds of jobs at Kimberly-Clark.

"This is a committment for the state to come in and save and save these jobs," Senator Roth told Action 2 News last week.

It would give Kimberly-Clark a jobs tax credit worth $100 million and $115 million over 15 years.

The bill passed the Assembly in April and is now awaiting a Senate vote.

Action 2 News reached out to Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald Tuesday about a timeline.

"Senate Republicans are caucusing today to discuss (among other topics) the Kimberly-Clark situation," Dan Romportl, Senator Fetzgerald's Chief of Staff said. "Additionally, Senator Fitzgerald plans to speak to the Governor's office and Senate Democratic Leader Shilling about it this week."

Republicans can't lose any more votes with a three-seat majority.

Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) has already come out against the state handout.

"The potential job losses are a result of United Steelworkers union bureaucrats failing to come to a better agreement with Kimberly-Clark," Sen. Kapenga said. "It is not the role of government to put taxpayer dollars at risk in the middle of disputes between businesses and unions."

And it doesn't appear that Democrats are impressed with the deal.

"Look at what Appleton Coated could do for three hundred workers for 1.8 million, not 115 million dollars," Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). "So, it's like their math is bad."

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