CORPORATE WELFARE HOSTAGE: A Kimberly-Clark plant in Conway. KATV/KAIT

offers the latest example of what’s wrong with corporate welfare and Arkansas figures in what amounts to a hostage situation.

The Wisconsin legislature is considering giving a $100 million incentive package to Kimberly-Clark so it will keep operating a facility in Wisconsin. If not, it says it will move the operation to an existing plant in Conway. Conway, conversely, could lose its plant if the company takes the Wisconsin deal.


This is a broad daylight stickup. Arkansas hasn’t said how much it’s willing to pay to hang onto existing jobs, but has said it can’t match $100 million. There’s apparently resistance to that amount in the Wisconsin legislature as well. The company is cutting jobs all over the country. It’d be happy to ditch a union plant in Wisconsin or get Wisconsin taxpayers to subsidize the roughly 400 jobs there, to the tune of $250,000 per job.

In a free market, a maker of toilet tissue and the like would operate based on costs and revenue, not government handouts. Arkansas competes sufficiently already as a low-wage, right-to-work state with a low cost of living. Kimberly-Clark is reaping plenty of benefits here already courtesy of Arkansas law and custom. And if they could ship the Conway work to Bangladesh, you can bet they’d do it in a heartbeat unless we wanted to fork over taxpayer tribute. Is it too much to ask a business to run like a business, not like a govermet subsidiary?