Mill Bill passes Assembly to assist in Verso sale
For the City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – On June 22, the state Assembly approved a bill that would provide state assistance to support the purchase of the former Verso paper mill in Wisconsin Rapids and the Pulp and Paper Mill in Park Falls.
The assistance would come in the form of loans, not grants. The loans would come from the state’s share of the American Rescue Plan, as well as the state’s Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.
The Verso mill purchase would receive $50 million from each source, and the Parks Falls purchase would get $15 million from each. The loans would also have to be paid back to the state by the end of 2024. And the loans would not cover the entire purchase price. The bill requires some private investment as well.
The Assembly dropped an amendment to the bill which would have allowed more flexibility for a party to be eligible for the loans. The amendment also would have given the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation discretion to make the loans forgivable, and issue below-market interest rates. The amendment was offered by a coalition of lawmakers and others, after the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau issued a memo that said the loans might not be allowed under the American Rescue Plan.
The version of the bill approved by the Assembly passed with bi-partisan support on a 63-35 vote. The “Mill Bill” now moves onto the Senate for further consideration.