Mercury offered $50 million loan for Wisconsin operations

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More than $50 million in government loans and other aid was offered to Mercury Marine to maintain and expand its operations in Fond du Lac, Wis., according to reports.

The announcement follows the union's vote last Friday to accept the company's contract proposal, which would allow it to stay in Wisconsin, rather than move production to its plant in Stillwater, Okla. The approval means operations in Oklahoma will instead move to Wisconsin during the next 18 to 24 months, company officials have said.

Fond du Lac County officials intend to pay for incentives by raising the county's sales tax by one-half percentage point to 5.5 percent, Dow Jones reports. The Fond du Lac County Board and Fond du Lac City Council are scheduled to vote later this week on the tax increase.

The major components of the incentive package include $3 million from the city of Fond du Lac. The city will use some of the money to purchase land from Mercury for redevelopment and provide the rest to the company in loans and grants.

Mercury also will receive $50 million in low-interest loans from the county. That money is intended to defray Mercury's costs for developing new engines and relocating the company's Stillwater, Okla., plant to Fond du Lac.

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