"When . . . a large development wants to be in your town, you see the tax values surrounding that. . . I think the tendency is to think this is really going to give us a solid foundation," George Fowler, mayor of Pineville, North Carolina, told the Charlotte Observer. "But you don’t realize at that particular point the impact it’s going to have on the services you have to provide."
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Three times as much money stays in the local economy when you buy goods and services from locally owned businesses instead of large chain stores, according to an analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Friends of Midcoast Maine.
The study tracked the revenue and expenditures of eight locally owned businesses in the Maine towns of Rockland, Camden, and Belfast. The businesses—which represented a range of goods and services—collectively employed 62 people and had sales of $5.7 million in 2002.
Summer 2003 ILSR conducted a Phase One deconstruction pilot project in cooperation with the City of Philadelphia Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI) during the summer 2003. NTI is a multi-year strategy for eliminating blight ad revitalizing communities in Philadelphia. ILSR’s Jim Primdahl supervised the two City-chosen demolition contractors in the pilot project that resulted in the… Continue reading
In July, the Scottsdale, Arizona, City Council voted 4-3 to approve one of the largest subsidies ever given to a big box retail development. Those voting in the minority described the subsidy, which could amount to as much as $183 million over 40 years, as "obscene" and "insane."
The 600,000-square-foot development includes a Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Lowe’s Home Improvement store. The project is slated for a 42-acre site occupied by a derelict mall in south Scottsdale.
Residents of Stoughton, Wisconsin, have come together under the banner "Uff-da Wal-Mart" to fight the company’s plans to turn a nearby cornfield into a massive supercenter. Uff-da is a Norwegian expression of disdain.
In mid-July, Uff-da Wal-Mart scored a significant victory when the City Council adopted a 90-day moratorium on big box retail development. The ordinance temporarily bans development of stores larger than 50,000 square feet.
At the urging of a broad group of residents and local business owners, the Tampa City Council voted unanimously in June to reject a proposal to level a neighborhood shopping center to make way for a Walgreen pharmacy and a bank. The shopping center is currently home to nine locally owned businesses, including three restaurants, a fitness center, beauty parlor, and laundry.
A developer sought to tear down the center, annex parts of two residential properties, and construct a large, box-like Walgreen’s and a bank.
Several Oregon communities are hindering Wal-Mart’s growth. The retailer wants to open new stores in ten locations around the state, but has been blocked in two communities and is facing organized opposition in at least five more.
In Hillsboro, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to reject a proposed supercenter. Hundreds of residents turned out at public hearings to argue the store would inundate the area with traffic and harm nearby neighborhoods.
Many retail chains, including Victoria’s Secret and Toys "R" Us, earn profits at stores nationwide, but have developed an accounting scheme to evade paying their full-share of corporate income taxes in more than half the states.
Tax experts believe the practice is costing states billions of dollars in lost revenue. It is likely one factor behind the decline in state corporate income tax receipts.
In April, the Montana legislature narrowly defeated a bill to levy a tax on the revenue of big box retailers. Supported by most Democrats and a handful of Republicans, the legislation would have imposed a 1 percent tax on the revenue of retailers with more than $20 million in annual sales, a 1.5 percent tax on those with more than $30 million in sales, and a 2 percent tax on those with over $40 million. Continue reading
A citizens group in Aurora, New York, has fought off Wal-Mart twice, first in 1996 and again in 2000. Now, with rumors circulating that the company may return for a third attempt, Aurora Citizens for Smart Growth is pushing for a permanent law banning stores over 55,000 square feet. That’s about one-third the size of the stores Wal-Mart previously proposed.
Bruce Davidson of the citizens group says the size cap is needed to maintain the character of the community and its small, locally owned businesses.