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Kimberly-Clark calls for quick vote on tax incentives

 

Kimberly-Clark wants a vote on a tax incentive plan to keep one of its Fox Valley plants open by the end of the month.

But leaders in the state Senate are not optimistic they can pass the bill by then.

Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert believes it's a political game.

"The Democrats want to play games and embarrass the governor and embarrass Roger Roth and Republicans by not passing this," said Kaufert.

State Sen. Roger Roth, R-Appleton, said there needs to be Democratic support of the incentives package to save the hundreds of Kimberly-Clark jobs in Fox Crossing.

"This is something I think we can all support, high paying union jobs, and family supporting jobs," Roth said.

Under the bill, tax credits on jobs alone could cost the state up to $115 million over 15 years.

In a statement, the Kimberly Clark spokeswoman told FOX 11, "This allows us to finalize our project plans and minimize the uncertainty and distractions being felt at our various sites."

Roth says because it's just weeks from general election, the voting should wait until after.

"I'm working at a feverish pace to make sure we can pull together the different areas to get this done and I think it may take a little more time than (Sept. 30)," said Roth.

Not all Republicans support the bill. In July, Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, said in a statement, "It's not the role of government to put taxpayer dollars at risk in the middle of disputes between businesses and unions."

Roth, however, said the tax incentives are no different from other bipartisan efforts like Foxconn.

But Kapenga said the Foxconn deal is different because it "was in the best interest of the taxpayers, as the significant growth potential has the ability to fundamentally transform our state's economy for decades to come."

Kaufert told FOX 11 Kimberly-Clark will have the same effect, just on a smaller scale.

"The economic impact this could have on this region is just too big to let this go," said Kaufert.

The incentive package would save the Cold Spring plant in Fox Crossing that has 500 jobs.

The Neenah Nonwovens plant will most likely shut down.

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