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Milwaukee Tool promises to continue local growth, with the help of state tax credits

Chuck Quirmbach
Thursday's news conference announcing the tax credits and job creation promise was held in this Milwaukee Tool building in a Menomonee Falls business park.

State of Wisconsin taxpayers will help Milwaukee Tool expand — again. Governor Tony Evers has announced up to $22 million in performance-based tax credits for the Brookfield-based company, which is also building corporate offices in downtown Milwaukee.

In return, the maker of power tools, which is owned by a Hong Kong firm, is promising to add up to 1,000 jobs and invest $206 million at its nine Wisconsin sites over the next several years.

Ty Staviski is the company's chief financial officer. Speaking to reporters Thursday at a nearly-complete technology and innovation center in Menomonee Falls, Staviski said he's still working on where the jobs will be located.

"We're always looking at where we have adjacencies to those existing facilities to be able to expand, how we can reconfigure an existing facility. How can we look at maybe making the density higher within those facilities and what those renovation costs look like. And the last part is then, where would we do another greenfield (new development) if we were to. But that's not currently in the plans,'' Staviski said.

Staviski says many of the 1,000 new positions will be in engineering and technical roles.

Chuck Quirmbach
Ty Staviski of Milwaukee Tool speaks during Thursday's event.

If Milwaukee Tool comes through on its promise, it would add to the nearly 100-year-old company's rapid growth in the last six years, both here and globally. In 2016, the state created an Enterprise Zone to support the company’s expansion in Wisconsin. Total tax credit aid could top $70 million by the end of 2027. Milwaukee Tool says it's already created 2,300 new jobs in the state.

Wisconsin doesn't land all the company's new properties though. Last month, Milwaukee Tool announced a new tech office in Chicago, and last year, the firm expanded a manufacturing facility in Mississippi.

Staviski says various factors go into location decisions.

"We're always looking at where the best fit is for our jobs and our opportunities. So, whether that be in Wisconsin, whether we look at our Mississippi operations or looking at other states in the country. But we're finding between being centralized and having that synergistic approach to the state of Wisconsin has been very beneficial to us," Staviski said.

And as part of that synergy, Wisconsin taxpayers have helped.

This August, Milwaukee Tool plans to open a hand tool manufacturing plant in West Bend.

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