Say No to Kimberly-Clark Subsidy
They’re awash in profits from federal tax cuts and worker givebacks. Now they want more from state taxpayers?
Like many of our Wisconsin neighbors, I was extremely dismayed earlier this year when I heard Kimberly-Clark announce unnecessary layoffs and manufacturing plant closures after posting a staggering $3.3 billion in operating profit at the end of 2017. These two facts, laid side by side, make it clear to all of us that the job losses and plant closures in the Fox Valley are a strategic decision made by a profitable company and not due to external forces or loss of market share. This was intentional. Before the ink was even dry on dividend checks to shareholders, Kimberly-Clark was planning to cut these jobs.
Now, after securing federal tax breaks from The Trump Administration, which slashed their effective tax rate from 35.7% in 2016 down to 19.2% in 2017, and securing concessions from The United Steelworkers Union here in Wisconsin, Kimberly-Clark is attempting to extort over $100 million dollars in tax incentives from Wisconsin by holding our neighbors’ manufacturing jobs hostage. It is my hope that Kimberly-Clark will rethink this strategy, think of the gains they have already been handed by taxpayers, and come to the right decision on their own. That is what we should expect from a company steeped in Wisconsin culture: to not cut jobs when profitable, to not shutter manufacturing plants after extracting concessions from workers, and to not extort further millions from Wisconsin taxpayers.
Wisconsin needs a real plan for job security for the next decade and beyond. We can’t afford to trip from crisis to crisis, putting out economic fires as they pop up. We need to invest heavily in K-12 education and our university system so we have the educated work force that modern industry is looking for. The fact is, Governor Walker has delivered the largest cuts to public education in our history, cuts he never fully restored. Yet here we are spending mountains of public money on corporate ransom payments. Wisconsin needs to work on incentives that will encourage our young people to stay in Wisconsin after graduation and entice the kind of businesses they want to work for. Instead, all we get are wasted dollars on lazy add campaigns in Chicago and a proposed giveaway to a company that remains profitable through the second quarter of 2018.
Wisconsin needs infrastructure investment so our roads aren’t crumbling and an embarrassment to our state. Our roads consistently rank near the very bottom in the United States and the worst in the Midwest. How can Wisconsin be expected to attract new businesses, with an eye towards the future, when their car gets a flat from a pothole on their way into the state? We cannot continue on this path that Governor Walker and Legislative Republicans have set us on where we give out billions for corporations while our students and our infrastructure continue to fall further and further behind.
We need businesses that represent Wisconsin’s future, not ones trying to cut it short.
Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson represents Wisconsin’s 7th Senate District – which includes Cudahy, Oak Creek, St. Francis, South Milwaukee, Milwaukee, and Franklin and is the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Committee on Education.
- Op Ed: Growing Wealth Gap Hurts Wage Earners - Tamarine Cornelius - Jan 20th, 2019
- This Isn’t an Economic Development Strategy, This is an Extortion. - State Sen. Chris Larson - Dec 14th, 2018
- Kimberly-Clark to Keep Cold Spring Facility Open in Wisconsin - Gov. Scott Walker - Dec 13th, 2018
- Governor-elect Tony Evers Statement on Kimberly-Clark Announcement - Gov. Tony Evers - Dec 13th, 2018
- Kimberly-Clark Subsidy Stalled in Senate - Laurel White - Nov 28th, 2018
- Kimberly-Clark, Unions, Push for Subsidy - Laurel White - Nov 15th, 2018
- AFP-Wisconsin to Legislators: Reject Corporate Welfare - AFP Wisconsin - Nov 14th, 2018
- MacIver Institute Reminds Wisconsin Why Kimberly-Clark Bailout Is a Bad Idea - MacIver Institute - Nov 14th, 2018
- GOP Pushes Tax Giveaway Plan That Pays More for Fewer Jobs - One Wisconsin Now - Nov 14th, 2018
- Republican Opposition to Kimberly-Clark Bill Intensifies - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Oct 4th, 2018
Read more about Kimberly-Clark Plant Closings here