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Jessie Opoien @jessieopie
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In a few minutes, the WI Legislature's Joint Finance Committee will hear testimony on a bill that would offer $100 million in tax incentives to Kimberly-Clark in exchange for the company keeping its Cold Spring plant open. @ScottWalker proposed this Foxconn-inspired deal in Feb.
The state Assembly voted 56-37 to approve the Kimberly-Clark bill in February, but the Senate never took it up.…
.@SenFitzgerald has said the bill will need bipartisan support if it's going to pass the state Senate. @JonErpenbach said last week he doesn't know of any Democrats who would vote for it.…
.@SenatorRoth on Kimberly-Clark incentive package: "This is important not just because of the high number of family-supporting union jobs that are at stake," but there's a greater economic impact. Supply chain of > 230 Wisconsin businesses.
.@SenatorRoth: "This is not Foxconn." The terms are similar, but Foxconn was a foreign biz built on potential of what could be. Kimberly-Clark deal is "built on a WI business with WI jobs, with union jobs. They are very tangible, they are here right now in this state."
.@RepRohrkaste on Kimberly-Clark: "Yes, this is a paper company, but this is really also a consumer product company." The Cold Spring plant makes personal hygiene products like Depend undergarments.
.@jimsteineke: "In so many of these cases as legislators we’re kind of powerless to prevent the loss of these jobs. This case, fortunately, is different. We pass this bill, we save these jobs." Can't do this for every company, but Kimberly-Clark has deep WI roots.
.@SenatorRoth on Kimberly-Clark bill: "It wasn’t passed in the Senate simply because we didn’t have the votes at the time to pass it … The votes were not there to pass it at that time. We’re working now … to see if we can find those votes, but they’re not there right now."
.@SenatorRoth says he/@SenFitzgerald didn't bring KC bill to a vote before the election because they thought it would fail for political reasons rather than pass/fail on its merits.

@JonErpenbach: You talk about wanting Dems at the table. We don’t even know where the table is.
Details on the KC deal: @WEDCNews would certify @KCCorp to be eligible for tax credits of 17% for wages on jobs retained/created, 15% for capital expenditure investments, sales/use tax exemption on building materials/supplies/equipment. This mirrors Foxconn terms.
.@KCCorp would be eligible for these tax credits for up to 15 years. To remain eligible, the company must retain 93% of its full-time employees at the Cold Spring facility and 93% of its statewide employees (~2700 employees).
.@rep89 asks how this bill might affect KC jobs in other parts of WI — like tissue mill in Marinette. Answer from @WEDCNews CEO Mark Hogan: Only geographic requirement in bill is to keep 93% of jobs in Fox Crossing. KC must keep 93% statewide but could move jobs within state.
.@JonErpenbach asks if lawmakers can see what @ScottWalker will veto from KC bill before it gets to his desk. @WEDCNews CEO says he'll have to ask the gov.

Erpenbach: "I haven't seen him lately."

Hogan says he's not concerned Walker will veto job retention requirements.
KC VP of Global Manufacturing John Deitrich says this deal would allow KC to retain 388 jobs w/ payroll of ~$30M, invest up to $500M in Cold Spring facility, add up to 52 new jobs w/ $3-4M in annual wages, keep supporting >230 WI businesses through supply chain.
KC Cold Spring plant manager Paul Lombardi thanks lawmakers who have recently visited, naming GOP @SenatorRoth & @SenFitzgerald and Dem @SenFrostman.

Frostman won June special election, lost to GOP's André Jacque in Nov. Frostman will be the one to vote if it's up this month.
Recurring argument from supporters of the KC incentive package: The Cold Spring plant makes Depend undergarments. Plant manager says the market for adult incontinence products is ~$2 billion annually and growing at a rate in mid-single digits.
Republican Sen. Luther Olsen asks KC VP of Global Mfg how much KC would save if it closes the Cold Spring plant and keeps Arkansas plant open.

Deitrich: "It's very significant."
Olsen: "We’re looking at giving you money. We’d certainly like to know what you save if you leave."
Sen. Luther Olsen: "If you don’t do this, would you really leave and how much could you really save? If you’re going to save a whole lot more than that by leaving … if I’m a shareholder in your company I'm not happy with you."
Sen. Luther Olsen says he's "not convinced" the Kimberly-Clark incentive package is the right move for the state of Wisconsin.
Sen, Luther Olsen asks what the state $$ will go toward, since the KC plant is already profitable.

KC's John Deitrich: "It's going into investment for innovation."

KC didn't ask for state incentives, Deitrich says, but when they were offered, "it changed the game."
KC exec says Arkansas has reached out to the company asking what it can do to keep a plant open there (instead of in WI). KC says they've told Arkansas they're in a process with Wisconsin and will finish that process.

"We have no interest in a bidding war between the states."
.@JonErpenbach: What happens if this bill doesn't pass?

KC's Deitrich: Didn't ask for incentive, had already announced plans to close Cold Spring. If bill doesn't pass, they're back to that position.

"We will finalize our decision after we know the decision from the state."
It's true, KC exec Deitrich says, that the company hasn't paid income tax in Wisconsin the last several years, but the company has paid property, sales and use taxes. Income tax is bc company maximizes research & development tax credit.
.@rep89 says he's concerned saving Cold Spring plant could make Marinette plant a target for cuts/closure.

KC's Deitrich: "We currently have no plans to close the Marinette facility." Adds that the agreement w/ WI would require KC to retain 93% of employees statewide.
.@SenDarling on Kimberly-Clark bill: "This is a good investment for the taxpayer … i really hope we can make it happen."
Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, says he's concerned with the precedent set by offering Foxconn-style tax breaks to Kimberly-Clark, noting that KC already has essentially no corporate income tax liability in WI. "That isn't enough — now we have to pay them to stay here."
Barry Hall, a maintenance employee who's worked at Cold Spring for 26 years, gave an emotional testimony with stories about plant employees. Hall said if the bill doesn't pass he believes "we'll have absolutely nothing to show for it but lower wages and a broken community."
About 8 KC employees testified in favor of the bill, some emotionally, about how much their jobs mean to them.

Karmen Jones, a machine operator and union recording secretary at Cold Spring, tearfully asked for a "no" vote. Said KC doesn't care about employees, only bottom line.
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