Local leaders, union ask K-C to extend deadline for Legislature to approve tax incentives

A view of Kimberly-Clark's Cold Spring Facility in Fox Crossing, Sept. 12, 2018. (WLUK/Pafoua Yang)

FOX CROSSING, Wis. (WLUK) -- Local elected officials are asking that Kimberly-Clark extend its deadline on a $100 million tax incentives bill.

The company is giving the state Senate until Sunday to vote on the bill which would save Kimberly-Clark's Cold Spring Facility in Fox Crossing.

During a news conference Wednesday, officials asked Kimberly-Clark to postpone the vote until after the November election.

"The proposed plan to close the facility puts hundreds of daily supporting jobs at risk, not only the jobs of my union brother or sisters, but my colleagues that are deemed white collar workers," said Dave Brockheimer, the president of the plant's union.

"It also is a major consumer of our utilities, specifically sewer and water," said Fox Crossing village president Dale Youngquist.

Despite efforts to extend the deadline, last week, Gov. Scott Walker said the company made it clear it wanted a decision by the Sept. 30.

A Kimberly-Clark spokeswoman told FOX 11, "This allows us to finalize our project plans and minimize the uncertainty and distractions being felt at our various sites."

State Sen. Roger Roth, R-Appleton, says the Senate will need Democratic backers to pass the bill.

"Right now we don't have any Democrats in the state Senate that are willing to come out and support this; that's why we're not able to schedule a vote before Nov. 6," said Roth.

Walker said both parties are to blame.

"I think right now it's unfortunate that politics is playing any role in this one way or the other. I think there are senators for both parties who are allowing this to be a barrier," Walker said.

In July, Republican State Senator Chris Kapenga said in a statement, "It's not the role of government to put taxpayer dollars at risk in the middle of disputes between businesses and unions."

If there's no decision by Sunday, Walker said the state won't give up on the case.

The bill has already passed the Assembly but there aren't enough Republican votes to pass the bill in the Senate.

About 500 people work at the Cold Spring facility. The Neenah Nonwovens plant will likely shut down.

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