Ashley Furniture Will Likely Get $6M Tax Credit From State

Tax Break Is Conditional Upon Company Retaining 50 Pct. Of Its Workforce

The tax credit will go towards an expansion of Ashley Furniture's headquarters in Arcadia. Photo: Nicholas Eckhart (CC-BY).

The state’s job creation agency is likely granting western Wisconsin-based Ashley Furniture Industries a major tax credit in an agreement that would allow the company to eliminate half of its workforce.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the Wisconsin Economic Development Board approved a $6 million tax credit to Ashley Furniture as part of a deal to expand its headquarters in Arcadia. The project involves rerouting a creek to avoid flooding, which has been a problem for the company.

Ashley is a major regional employer with almost 2,000 workers at its Arcadia location. As part of the WEDC plan, Ashley Furniture would be required to ultimately retain 50 percent of its workers between 2016 and 2018.

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Gov. Scott Walker said the tax credit would be rerouted from Ashley Furniture to the city of Arcadia to help move the creek. He said that plan and the jobs issue still need to be finalized.

“They’re committed to growing — they just can’t grow unless they ultimately do so outside of the flood zone,” said Walker. “The city of Arcadia right now financially is in a position where they’ve exhausted their TIFs and some of their other financing components. So, without help from the state, they wouldn’t be in a position to do it.”

Arcadia Mayor John Kimmel said he had approached state and federal officials for help with flooding, and the agreement with Ashley is the only one that worked out. Kimmel did not have specifics on the potential job loss, but said the company is dedicated to the community.

“They found a way to partner with the city and state to help protect jobs and economic growth in a community that without it would be devastating,” said Kimmel. “They’re a godsend for us and we’re grateful for that.”

Calls made to Ashley Furniture were not returned in time for this story.