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.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.
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.
(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.