JFC to Take Up Kimberly-Clark Incentive Bill

A state bill that would give tens of millions of dollars in incentives to Kimberly-Clark Corp. to keep its Cold Spring facility open will take a step forward Wednesday, but still faces obstacles.

Lawmakers will hold another public hearing on the legislation on Wednesday.

Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton), a co-sponsor of the bill, admits that the legislation faces a bumpy road to get to the floor later this month for a vote.

“I know how tough it is to get any piece of legislation passed. It’s always an uphill battle on you name the issue. But tomorrow will be telling,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

Roth will speak at the hearing, as will Rep. Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah) and union, company and WEDC officials.

Rohrkaste is a co-author of the bill and a member of the Joint Finance Committee. If he were an oddsmaker, he said he’d give the bill a 50-50 chance at passage.

“I get the arguments on both sides, but it’s a way to keep good-paying jobs in the area. If people don’t vote for this, they’re being short-sighted. It’s going to negatively impact 500 families in the Fox Cities,” Rohrkaste said.

The legislation, as written, sought to give tax breaks to K-C if it kept two Fox Cities plants open and retained 610 jobs.

K-C indicated it was willing to consider incentives for the Cold Spring plant in Fox Crossing, but told Fitzgerald that it will still close its Neenah Nonwovens facility and cut its 110 jobs. Both plants had been put on the chopping block in January as part of the company’s global restructuring plan to close or sell 10 plants and eliminate up to 5,500 jobs.