MADISON — Kimberly-Clark has a long history in Wisconsin. Now, Governor Scott Walker is offering to give the company the Foxconn treatment.
Kimberly-Clark is the maker of Kleenex and Huggies diapers. Company officials recently announced plans to eliminate more than 5,000 jobs -- about 600 of them in a pair of plants in and around Neenah.
Gov. Walker on Monday, Feb. 5 introduced a plan to offer special incentives to the company -- incentives made possible by the Foxconn deal.
"This is turning into serious money and this is taking it up a notch," said UW-Milwaukee Professor Mordecai Lee.
State law currently allows for companies to get job retention incentives payments of up to seven percent of their payroll amount. Foxconn's deal allows for the company to get 17 percent of its payroll covered. Gov. Walker's proposal extends the offer to Kimberly-Clark.
Lee said such an agreement could lead to other companies threatening cuts in order to get a better deal for themselves.
"Every company that asks for state aid, if they get less than Foxconn got, they're going to feel like they were suckers. Why didn't they threaten to move out of the state?" Lee said.
Walker's offer comes after four Fox Valley Democratic lawmakers proposed a $60 million plan to keep the plants open.
"I wait to see what his proposal is. We know what the Democrats are putting forward," said State Sen. Chris Larson (D - Milwaukee.)
Neither the governor's office nor the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) had a bottom line estimate Monday for how much Walker's plan would cost. In a statement, the governor defends the proposal saying, "The paper industry is vital to Wisconsin's economy...retaining outstanding Wisconsin companies like Kimberly-Clark is just as important as attracting new companies to our state."
Republican State Sen. Alberta Darling (R- River Hills), who co-chairs the state's budget committee, told FOX6 News she wants to know more about the governor's plan, including its total cost, before commenting on it.