Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling fears the Legislature will be left out of any incentive package the outgoing Walker administration negotiates to keep open a Kimberly-Clark plant, saying WEDC’s poor track record puts taxpayers at risk without some layer of oversight.
“The Legislature, the Joint Finance Committee certainly has a responsibility to sign off on a package that sounds like it would be of great capacity to them if it happens,” Shilling told WisPolitics.com today in a round of year-end interviews.
With the Legislature failing to pass a bill that would provide the company Foxconn-like terms to keep jobs at a plant in the Fox Valley, Gov. Scott Walker has said he hopes to find a package that would keep the company from shutting the facility. The guv told reporters yesterday that Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. CEO Mark Hogan and his team “have been doing a remarkable job” in terms of working with Kimberly-Clark.
The guv has also tried to pin the blame on Dems for the Kimberly-Clark package’s failure to clear the Legislature. The Assembly approved the bill on a party-line vote in February, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said this fall he only had 10 or 11 GOP votes for it in his chamber. That means Republican backers would’ve needed at least a half-dozen Dems to join them to pass the bill.
Republicans control the Senate 18-15.
Shilling noted GOP legislative leaders originally said they wanted to call an extraordinary session to take up the Kimberly-Clark bill, but the Senate didn’t even have it on the agenda.
She also said Republicans never bothered to ask Dems their input on the legislation. Senate President Roger Roth, whose district includes the plant that would benefit, told WisPolitics.com last week that the bill before the Legislature was the only thing that could save the factory.
Shilling said she told Roth, R-Appleton, she read the comments, which she called “tough” because Dems wanted to protect those jobs as well, but weren’t given any opportunity for input.
“You can’t invite us to the dance at the 11th hour and then tell us what to wear and tell us what music is going to be played and then what time we’re going to be dropped off at home and just expect us to go along with it,” Shilling said.