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Wisconsin's bid for GM small car plant was one-fifth of Michigan's offer

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Wisconsin's governments would have given General Motors almost $200 million to put its new small car plant in Janesville.

And that was only one-fifth of what Michigan put up to win the new factory for Orion Township.

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According to media reports, Michigan's total offer was close to $1 billion, including $770 million in tax credits if GM keeps at least 20,000 workers going over the next two decades.

Wisconsin's state government offered $115-million, including $70 million from a tax credit in the new state budget that's based on capital investments.

Rock County was also ready to put up to $20 million.

Janesville offered $15 million, including a promise to run the factory's sewage plant.

And nearby Beloit put up $2 million in incentives.

Zach Brandon of the state's Commerce Department says government must weigh the economic benefits of incentives with what taxpayers can afford. Jim Buchen of the Wisconsin Manufacturers' and Commerce group wonders when the government's bidding wars will end but he credits the state for trying to get GM back.

Brandon says Wisconsin may have lost this time, but he said the state's recent actions will help it compete for jobs in the future.

The state's commitment will again be put to the test soon, as Fond du Lac faces the risk of losing Mercury Marine to Oklahoma and Chrysler's re-organization would in essence move its Kenosha engine plant to Mexico.

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