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Ashley Furniture drops pursuit of $6M tax credit (UPDATE)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A furniture company has decided against pursuing a $6 million tax credit from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The job-creation agency’s board approved the tax break last year with terms that would have allowed Arcadia-based Ashley Furniture to cut its Wisconsin workforce in half. The company would have donated the money to Arcadia for a flood control project that would have allowed the company to expand its headquarters.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the company said its decision to stop pursuing the tax credit won’t affect its operations or employees in Arcadia. Ashley said it will continue to grow there and is committed to continuing a strong presence in Wisconsin as well helping Arcadia find funding for the flood control project.

A 2010 flood in Arcadia resulted in damages topping $10 million.

The contract for the $6 million tax credit had not finalized, but the newspaper reported in August about its availability being previously approved by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. board. A memo said Ashley would invest $35 million to expand its headquarters and agree to keep at least half of its Wisconsin employees through 2018, or otherwise lose the tax credits.

According to the company, it employs 4,500 people in Wisconsin and has added 350 jobs over the last three years. It also gave back $256,706 in tax credits for another project that was meant to create 225 positions by this year at its Whitehall factory.

Ashley has created 87 jobs in Whitehall, and company president Todd Wanek said it wasn’t able to find enough potential employees.

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