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ARCADIA, Wis. - An Ashley Furniture official tells the state's business lobby the Wisconsin-based company has no plans for any layoffs and instead plans to add jobs.
That's despite a published report saying Ashley Furniture sought $6 million in state tax credits on condition the company be allowed to retain only half of its workforce in Wisconsin.
Company lawyer Bill Koslo said in a statement that the job guarantee number "just sets the base line of the risk Ashley was willing to accept as a good Samaritan to the City of Arcadia."
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's business lobby, shared the statement with the Wisconsin State Journal. The newspaper reported Sunday that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. board in January approved the tax credits in a 9-2 vote.
Walker said the funding has to do with flood mitigation that the city of Arcadia can't pay for.
"It's really the reason why they came to the state, because they can't deal with a flooding issue, and they need to slightly move a creek's passage to be able to avoid that or they won't be able to have Ashley or any other company grow where they are at," Walker said.
Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke said she has concerns about donations made to Walker by Ashley executives just weeks after the WEDC board voted on the issue.
"When I was secretary of commerce we didn't structure any deals that way. I can't remember any deals where we gave taxpayer money to laying off half your employees, so certainly I have real concerns about it," Burke said.
WEDC officials said there was no signed contract on the Ashley deal, but that they were very interested in working with the company and preserving jobs in Arcadia.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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