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UPDATE: Ashley Furniture denies job cuts in wake of getting state tax breaks

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Ashley Furniture says it's not true that it will reduce its 4,000 member workforce in half, while taking up to $6 million in state tax breaks.

The Wisconsin State Journal said the state's Economic Development Corporation quietly approved the tax breaks in January, as part of the company's plan to expand its headquarters.

A WEDC spokesman was quoted as saying the firm needs to cut its rising health care costs, and it's considering the use of automated production equipment.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was given a statement from Ashley saying it's not reducing its workforce -- and the numbers of job cuts listed in the approved agreement are "very conservative" projections which prevent the firm in case they economy goes south again soon.

Also, Ashley took issue with the apparent assumption it would pocket the state tax breaks. It says they'll be donated to the City of Arcadia for a flood control project.

Ashley Furniture said the company is in a flood prone area -- and if nothing's done to control it, many jobs will be lost. A 2010 flood closed down the Ashley plant for a time.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)