Legislature to Meet in Extraordinary Session on Kimberly-Clark

This week, legislative leadership called for an extraordinary session of the legislature to take up an incentive package to keep open a Kimberly-Clark manufacturing plant in northeast Wisconsin. A Senate committee will hold a public hearing on the bill on Nov. 12, and the full Senate could vote on the bill later that month – if they have the votes.

The Senate will take up AB 963, which the Assembly passed near the end of the 2017-18 regular session in February. Similar to the Foxconn bill approved in September 2017, the bill authorizes the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to certify tax credits for Kimberly-Clark for 17 percent of their payroll for full-time employees salaried under $100,000 at the Fox Valley plant. Kimberly-Clark can earn additional tax credits of up to 15 percent of significant capital expenditure at the facility, along with sales and use tax exemptions. The company must repay tax credits if it fails to maintain employment and capital expenditure levels specified in a contract with WEDC. The bill specifies Kimberly-Clark must retain 93 percent of its Wisconsin employees to be eligible for the credits.

Sens. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), and David Craig (R-Big Bend) have already expressed their opposition to the legislation. With an 18-15 Republican majority, the bill needs votes from all other Senate Republicans and at least two Democrats in order to pass. So far, no Democrats have indicated they would vote for the bill. With the opposition from three Republicans, some are viewing the timing of the extraordinary session after the election as a way to postpone what could likely be an unsuccessful vote.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has indicated the Assembly is open to considering Senate changes to AB 963. Vos also said the legislature could consider other legislation in the extraordinary session, including pre-existing conditions insurance coverage.