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Doyle thanks Fond du Lac today for keeping Mercury Marine there

Gov. Jim Doyle will meet with employees and officials of Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac today (Friday).

The governor's office says Doyle will thank the community, the company, and others for doing what was needed to keep the outboard motor plant in Wisconsin. Hundreds of union workers made contract concessions to stop the plant from moving to a non-union facility in Stillwater, Okla.

The city of Fond du Lac chipped in $3 million. And Fond du Lac County loaned $50 million to Mercury, funded by a 0.5 percent county sales tax.

Also, Doyle said taxpayers throughout Wisconsin will give up to $70 million in state assistance, most of it in refundable tax credits.

To get the full amount, Doyle says the company must prove it saved and created 2,700 jobs, 800 more than it has now. About 400 new jobs are expected when Mercury shuts down the Oklahoma plant in a couple years.

Mercury officials allowed three union votes on the employee concessions. T

he final vote was called after management agreed that union workers were misinformed about the package they rejected the second time.

Critics said Mercury was pitting Wisconsin against Oklahoma to step up the public aid.

But Doyle said the state could not afford the job losses. Local officials said about $450 million in wages would have left the Fox Valley had Mercury moved away.