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Kimberly-Clark Restructuring: Wisconsin Gov. Fights to Keep Plants Open

Staff reports

While the future of Kimberly-Clark in Corinth remains unclear, the governor of Wisconsin this week called for additional tax credits to keep two of the company’s plants in his state open.

As part of a Global Restructuring Program, Kimberly-Clark plans to reduce its global workforce by up to 5,500 jobs and close or sell about 10 manufacturing facilities.

In Corinth, Kimberly-Clark has about 160 company employees and another 140 contract employees.

Full details on which of the company’s global facilities will be impacted have not been revealed. However, the company announced last month that it planned to close two Wisconsin facilities as part of the restructuring plan. The closure of those two Wisconsin manufacturing facilities would impact about 600 employees.

But Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker this week called for providing additional tax credits to Kimberly-Clark to ensure the company retains its two facilities in Neenah and Fox Crossing.

The governor said he would work with the Legislature to approve an increase in the tax credits available for job retention from 7 percent in current law to 17 percent – the same percentage used to attract Foxconn’s historic investment in Wisconsin.

“The paper industry is vital to Wisconsin’s economy,” Walker said in a news release. “The state of Wisconsin has been working closely with our local and regional economic development partners to get a better understanding of Kimberly-Clark’s decision and make a strong case for the company to retain its operations in the Fox Valley.”

Gov. Walker added, “Retaining outstanding Wisconsin companies like Kimberly-Clark is just as important as attracting new companies to our state, which is why I’m proposing we offer larger tax credits to ensure the company keeps those 600 jobs where they belong – in Wisconsin.”

Under current law, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is allowed to offer job retention credits of up to 7 percent of a company’s payroll under its Enterprise Zone Program. Special legislation approved last year created a new WEDC program that raised that figure to 17 percent as part of the incentives for Foxconn. Walker proposes similar action for Kimberly-Clark.

“Kimberly-Clark is a major employer in Wisconsin and the Fox Valley, and WEDC is committed to working closely with Governor Walker and our key partners in the region to make a concerted effort to avoid any job losses,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Mark R. Hogan. “We look forward to engaging with the company to learn more about its challenges, and to help develop solutions to overcome those challenges.”

Since the company announced it was reducing operations in the United States, WEDC has been working with its partners in the Fox Valley, particularly the Fox Cities Regional Partnership, The New North economic development organization and Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert, to be proactive in its efforts to ensure that Kimberly-Clark continues to have a strong presence in Wisconsin, the news release states.

State officials have also reached out to company officials to better understand the economics of each of the two plants targeted for closure and to discuss providing incentives to ensure their continued operations.

One Comment

  1. Lew Talbert Lew Talbert February 9, 2018

    Gov Walker is 100% correct in that states must do what is necessary to keep the industry they already have.

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