Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Walker and WisGOP now won't bail out Kimberly-Clark...until after the people vote.

We found out this week that Scott Walker and the WisGOP Legislature are bailing out from having to deal with a bailout before November.
Republican leaders said Tuesday they would take up an incentive package for Kimberly-Clark Corp. a week after the election, putting off a deal that would save 500 jobs and cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

It's still unknown whether backers of the measure can round up the votes to get it passed.

The governor's office and control of the Senate are at stake in the Nov. 6 election, but the winners won't be seated until January. That means Republicans are assured of controlling state government for the rest of the year and will have a chance to change state laws in November and December.

Under a plan announced by GOP Gov. Scott Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), the Senate in November will take up the incentive package for the maker of Depend undergarments and other personal care products.
What a pathetic dodge, as some politicians that will be on the way out the door will be voting on a giveaway that could cost taxpayers $7 million a year for 15-20 years (if not lining up cushy lobbying jobs). It also appears to be a shakedown to allow endangered WisGOP Senators to ask for campaign donations from K-C and related interests, and it's the type of cynical politics-based "compromise" that seems likely to make things even worse.

(Side note, let's go back 6 months to when Scott Walker was trying to keep 2 seats in the State Legislature from being filled. What did Scotty say then? "It would be senseless to waste taxpayer money on special elections just weeks before voters go to the polls when the Legislature has concluded its business.") Funny how he and Fitzgerald (who also tried to stop the elections) are singing a different tune today).

Any bailout of Kimberly-Clark is unnecessary and absurd. Let me remind you of the list of giveaways and incentives that Kimberly-Clark already are able to use.

1. “The Big Giveaway” (aka the Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit) already lowers Kimberly-Clark's maximum state tax rate to 0.4%. And as One Wisconsin Now notes, the company hasn’t even paid that.

2. Kimberly-Clark also is receiving a major windfall from the GOP Tax Scam. In fact, K-C referenced the Tax Scam as a reason that they had added “flexibility” to restructure, including the closing of two plants in the Appleton area.

3. Kimberly-Clark also has received WisGOP assistance in the form of a major cut of the personal property tax (which disproportionately helps manufacturing companies that have equipment), and wage-suppressing measures such as right-to-work (for less).

4. The union representing workers at the Cold Spring plant has already said they will take wage cuts and other concessions in order to keep their jobs at the plant.

You already get a lot of help here.

So explain to me why we should throw any more money at this company that has been given tons of advantages already? If they can't take advantage of THAT situation, get them out of there and instead put in a business at the plant that will pay good wages without having to make taxpayers shell out a ridiculous amount of money for these jobs.

As I’ve said before, it would be much more cost-effective to allow the plant to close, pay the workers $1,000 a week for a year (a cost of $26 million), give the Village of Fox Crossing a 1-2 year subsidy to make up for the loss of tax base, and find a better corporate citizen to take the site. In addition to being better social policy, since the state isn't giving in to corporate extortion, it will cost taxpayers much less in the long run, with a more sustainable company taking over and possibly being a longer-lasting employer.

This state is already wasting far too much on the Fox-con, why would we give the same deal to another company that already has too many tax breaks? Especially in a time of low unemployment, it is obscene that the workers at Kimberly-Clark would have to take pay cuts just to keep their jobs, let alone have to put state taxpayers on the hook for the company that refuses to pay them.

If Tony Evers and the rest of the Wisconsin Dems want to win big in 34 days, they will JUST SAY NO to the Kimberly-Clark bailout, and tell voters that the free ride for Wisconsin corporations is over.


  1. Why is it WMC and Wisconsin Corporations never support Socialist candidates, it seems that's the kind of government they want.

    1. Because Corporate Wisconsin are the "special ones", and therefore worthy of welfare.

      Just yesterday, Robbin' Vos was saying he'll never take Medicaid expansion because "I dont want more people on government healthcare." But he sure loves to hand out government assistance to his corporate donors. In fact, Wee Wobbin' jammed through this K-C bailout with few (if any?) hearings back in February, before adjourning the Assembly to a 10 1/2 month paid vacation.

    2. I don't suppose he has a Democratic opponent to worry about Nov. 6? To keep him out of mischief?

  2. And if lame duck republicans don't get it done in November, KC will wait a couple more months until Dems are seated. $110M makes it all worth it.

  3. I’m from Conway Arkansas where KC is closing a company that I worked for for 17 years and a lot of my family and friends still work there. Arkansas has a high unemployment rate in manufacturing jobs for those that don’t won’t to flip burgers for minimum wage. I don’t know you Jake but love seeing someone in Wisconsin finally stepping up for what’s right for the ppl in Wisconsin tax dollars. I can guarantee Arkansans would be livid if our tax dollars was going to a Company that already profits billions a year. They used their threat tactics to the mill in Wisconsin that is was between them and Conway to be the next Mill to shut down but if they would take a pay cut in Wisconsin then they would shut down Conway. So that what their doing right now, they told Conway employees they were going to start phasing the Mill out and it would be shut down by 2020. It’s going to be a HUGE hit to Conway AR without those ppl having money to spend there but especially to those loosing their jobs, and possibly homes, cars and so on. So sad the way KC has done both Companies at Conway and there in Wisconsin... POOR management over the past 10 years is the real reason Conway went down hill very fast! They’re family oriented Conway and every other KC Mill in my opinion is now all about GREED pure and simple. Thank you again for your blog and telling it like it is!

    1. Wow. Thanks for sharing, and I remember a comment from Arkansas' Econ Development guy a few months back who said what Wis was thinking of giving to K-C was ridiculous. They rightfully told K-C to shove it.

      It really is greed that is central to this extortion, and public officials have to JUST SAY NO to it, even if it risks some jobs going. Because they can be replaced with a better company, and not bankrupt the state in the process.

      Thanks for finding this place, and sorry about dumping Brett Bielema on you guys (but not too sorry!)