In a stunning display of desperation, and an acknowledgement that his own political agenda ain't working, Scott Walker tried to upstage the Democratic plan to keep Kimberly-Clark's factories open:
As Democratic lawmakers were announcing their own Kimberly-Clark plan, the GOP governor called for passing legislation to allow the state to give the paper company the same level of tax credits per job as Foxconn.
For staunch tightwad small government conservatives, you gotta wonder what they were thinking seeing Walker govern like a Democrat and then betray his "free market" principles by throw taxpayer money hand over fist at every trouble business in the state. Seriously? I thought the "masterly" crafted GOP business climate alone in Wisconsin was enough:
A few hours later, Gov. Scott Walker's office sent out a release detailing a separate proposal to more than double tax credits to Kimberly-Clark Corp., from 7 percent to 17 percent, to keep that papermaker from shutting down two Fox Cities mills and eliminating about 610 jobs. The percentage is the same percentage used "to attract Foxconn's historic investment in Wisconsin," the governor's statement said.
Walker also referred to Appleton Coated in Combined Locks, which went into receivership last August, laying off most of its 600-employee workforce. New owner Industrial Assets restarted one machine ... 50 workers were recalled for a total of 88. The governor's said ongoing discussions with Industrial Assets "about providing assistance to the company to continue mill operations in the Fox Valley..."This is where the $4.5 billion Foxconn deal keeps coming back to haunt us. That said, Democrats decided to work with money already spent:
Meanwhile, the Papermaker Fund bill, announced by Democratic lawmakers in their Monday press conference, will ask the state to dedicate 1 percent of the Foxconn investment, or $30 million, to each of two programs, to help mills retrofit to make more desirable paper grades and make energy efficiency upgrades.Walker's "Open for Business" tax climate isn't stopping market forces from shutting down other long time businesses. And some thought the state economy was roaring along:
NOTE: Walker's tax free gift to manufacturers who never had to create one job is also biting us in the ass now:Besides K-C and Appleton Coated, Appvion in Appleton and U.S. Paper Converters in Grand Chute were two more paper facilities that recently announced job reductions. Appvion filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October and announced in November it would cut 200 jobs, about one-quarter of its local workforce. It outsourced its warehouse and distribution center in Appleton where 62 employees worked. U.S. Paper Converters shut in late 2017, eliminating 52 jobs.
As manufacturers in Wisconsin, both Foxconn and Kimberly-Clark pay little to no corporate and personal income tax on profits from those operations. That means that any potential enterprise zone credits could end up being paid to each company in cash if it has little corporate tax liability.As Democratic Majority Leader Gordon Hintz said in a press release:
Governor’s proposal reeks of election year desperation. No information given on the cost of tax credits or how the state will pay for them ... Today, Governor Walker announced via Twitter that he instructed WEDC “to offer Kimberly Clark the same deal for jobs as Foxconn.”
“This sounds like another deal crafted on the back of a napkin. The lack of foresight and planning by this Governor is unbelievable. Real economic development starts with homegrown businesses. Rather than selling out our state’s future for the FoxConn deal, we could’ve been investing in Wisconsinbusinesses, infrastructure, education, and healthcare."
“Just like his State of the State Address, today’s announcement sounded more like a going out of business sale than a serious policy proposal. At this point it’s clear that the Governor will say just about anything to get re-elected.
The question everyone should be asking the Governor is, “What will you do when the next corporation threatens to leave the state unless they get the FoxConn deal?