WMC Backs Kimberly-Clark Subsidy
Business lobbying group and Kimberly-Clark have both donated to Walker.
A GOP bill that would sharply increase state handouts to entice Kimberly-Clark to keep operating two Fox Valley paper plants has the backing of the mighty Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC).
The measure, Senate Bill 859, was introduced last month after the company announced it would cut up to 5,000 jobs company wide, including 600 workers at its Neenah and Fox Crossing plants. The Assembly version of the bill was approved on a near party line vote by the Republican-controlled Assembly last month. And on Wednesday, a Senate committee approved it. The full Senate is expected to take up the proposal later this month before it adjourns its floor session for the year.
A key component of the Kimberly-Clark bill would increase tax credits available to the company for job retention from 7 percent to 17 percent on annual salaries less than $100,000 a year. The bill’s job credits component alone is estimated to cost $100 million to $115 million over 15 years.
The company has yet to say whether it would reconsider its decision to close the plants.
Kimberly-Clark executives and other employees contributed $14,645 to legislative and statewide candidates between January 2010 and June 2017, including $5,340 to Walker. Nearly $2 of every $3 in campaign contributions from Kimberly-Clark employees went to Republicans – about $9,200 versus about $5,450 – to Democrats.
The WMC is the state’s largest business organization and the leader in Capitol clout. The group secretly raised and spent about $32.7 million between January 2006 and December 2017, including some $9.5 million to help Walker win his 2010 general, 2012 recall, and 2014 reelection contests. The Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry, which also supports the bill, is a WMC member.