WEDC contract could allow Johnson Controls to keep much of $1M t - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

WEDC contract could allow Johnson Controls to keep much of $1M tax credit award

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A contract agreement between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and Johnson Controls may allow the company to close its Milwaukee Business Center (MBC) next June and still keep the majority of a $1 million tax credit award.

27 News first reported on Tuesday WEDC approved that tax credit award earlier this year after the company reported 266 new jobs were created at the facility. But Johnson Controls announced Monday it will close the MBC next year, laying off all 277 employees there.

The contract obtained by 27 News shows that despite being signed on March 28, 2014, the effective date goes back to June 1, 2011.

WEDC Spokesperson Steven Michels indicated the deal was back dated because the old Department of Commerce made an initial award offer to Johnson Controls in 2011.

Due to the effective date, the company would be able to claim a $6,000 tax credit for any new job maintained into June 2016. That's because the contract only requires Johnson Controls to maintain the new jobs for 60 months past the effective date - a period that will end on May 31, 2016.

Johnson Controls plans to begin layoffs in late January 2016, with all of the employees being let go by June 30th.

Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha), who also serves as a member of the WEDC Board of Directors, told 27 News he's frustrated the agreement doesn't require a longer commitment from the company.

"It goes back to the expectation that we had at the beginning, and having that conversation with the company to make sure the expectations are clear. So we have to have those difficult conversations," said Rep. Barca.

Michels told 27 News Wednesday that while the $1 million in tax credits was made available to Johnson Controls months ago, the company has yet to claim them.

But the company has not yet said whether it will leave that money on the table.

"We are scheduling a meeting to discuss the existing contracts and JCI’s future plans for its Wisconsin facilities," Michels wrote in an email.

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