Evers Vetoes Mill Bill | WXPR

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On Thursday, Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a bill that would give federal funds $ 65 million in loans to buy paper mills in Park Falls and Wisconsin Rapids.

In his veto messageEvers said he supports long-term relief efforts for the Wisconsin paper industry.

However, he objects to using federal COVID relief funds from the US Rescue Plan Act 2021 to fund loans.

He gave two main reasons for this objection.

First, he said that perhaps the US Treasury Department will not allow ARPA funds to be used for this purpose, as many paper mills were struggling even before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Second, the funds are only available for the next two and a half years, which Evers says is not ideal for the long-term loans needed to buy factories.

Instead of using federal ARPA funds, Evers recommended using state tax money.

He said government funds are sufficient to fund the loans needed to restart factories, and government funds will be more reliable and flexible.

Evers said he would welcome a bill to support the restart of paper mills if the legislature finds another source of funding.

Regardless of whether the legislature and the governor come to an agreement, cooperatives looking to acquire idle paper mills plan to continue these efforts.

Cooperative Administrator Don Peterson spoke to WXPR about story earlier this month.

“We would welcome such funding from the state, but we are not counting on it,” Peterson said. “We started this process even before they started talking about this bill. If this happens, we would be extremely grateful. If this does not happen, we will still work on the acquisition of both plants. “

The cooperative model will divide the ownership of the paper mills among workers, loggers, and allies in the industry.

No other paper mills in the US are owned by cooperatives, but there is a successful cooperative that operates a paper mill in Quebec, Canada.

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