The Milwaukee Sentinel Journal reports that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has struck a deal with Kimberly-Clark in which the paper products company will retain operations in Wisconsin in return for $25 million in handouts over five years. This means the closure of
Kimberly-Clark officials have said they planned to close facilities in Neenah and Fox Crossing as part of a global restructuring and would change course only if they received state subsidies. As of earlier this year, the company employed 110 people at the Neenah facility and about 500 at the Fox Crossing facility, which is known as the Cold Spring plant.
State officials have said they have seen no way to save the Neenah nonwovens facility but believed an incentive package could preserve the Cold Spring plant.
Under the new plan, the company would keep the Cold Spring plant open and close one in Conway, Ark. In exchange for about $25 million in taxpayer funds, Kimberly-Clark would make capital investments in its Cold Spring plant and employ 388 people there, according to people familiar with the plan.
There had been talks earlier of $70 million in corporate welfare for Kimberly-Clark. Arkansas has said it was working to keep the Conway plant open, but that it likely couldn’t compete with tax money handouts of the magnitude being offered in Wisconsin. The Conway plant, a presence in the city since 1970, employs about 350 people.