A widely publicized study claims that there is no evidence that Wal-Mart has had a negative impact on the small business sector. In reviewing the study, ILSR found fatal flaws. For example, the study relies on the wrong US Census dataset. Using the correct data, our analysis shows that the number of independent retailers fell as Walmart grew between 1982 and 2002. Continue reading
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Fiber-to-the-home is essential infrastructure. Communities know they need better broadband networks. DSL is already too slow, especially on the upload side. DOCSIS3 cable networks may promise fast speeds this year and next, but ever increasing numbers of users, each inevitably increasing bandwidth utilization, will soon overwhelm this legacy shared architecture.
Our international competitors have invested in technologies that will bring very fast speeds all the way to the home. In most areas of the U.S., this can only be achieved with fiber to the home. And we can connect a fiber to every home if we make it a priority. Our geography gives us a bigger challenge than others, but we are a nation that rises to challenges.
Little-noticed laws in more than half the states allow retailers to keep a portion of the sales taxes they collect from shoppers. The practice is costing states over $1 billion a year and lining the pockets of large chains, notably Wal-Mart. Continue reading
Prior to 1999, Georgia levied ad valorem taxes for some agricultural commodities, such as fruit and nut trees and livestock. Legislation passed in 1998 relieved small scale farmers of this additional burden. For other crops, such as ornamental trees and shrubs, the possibility of ad valorem taxation was eliminated.
The legislation is noteworthy not because of the tax impact- farmers will save about $ 2.5 million a year, or an average of less than $20,000 per Georgia county- but because it targets those tax cuts to a well defined "family farm" scale agriculture.
This program allows recipients of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to receive part of their supplemental food aid in the form of coupons that can be redeemed at local farms and farmers markets. In 2009, about 2.2 million recipients received farmers’ market benefits. Coupons redeemed through the FMNP resulted in over $20 million in revenue for farmers in 2009. More than 17,000 farms, 3,600 farmers markets, and 2,600 roadside stands are authorized to accept WIC FMNP coupons. Continue reading
Colleges and Universities, especially the nation’s land grant universities are a perfect laboratory for policies that support locally-grown and/or organic food supplies. The University of Wisconsin’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems completed a survey of schools in 1998 and identified a handful that had policies in place that supplied their food service departments with significant quantities of locally grown and/or organic food. Continue reading
In 1967, the Wholesome Meat Inspection Act and the Wholesome Poultry Products Act authorized states with inspection programs certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as "at least equal to" the federal program to inspect meat and poultry products for distribution within a state’s borders. An adversarial relationship between state programs and the USDA and little interest in direct marketing caused many of the programs to be dropped. Today, meat producers interests in niche markets and marketing have resulted in 25 state meat inspection programs being reinstated and expanded across the country. Continue reading
This Iowa county has a two-pronged policy approach to encourage the production and use of locally grown organic food. First, there is a property tax rebate for farmers who convert from conventional to organic farming practices. The second approach is a mandate that the County purchase locally grown organic food through its food service contractor. Continue reading
Farmers’ markets are for farmers directly selling what they produce. However, as the markets have proliferated, some retailers have been allowed to set up their own stands to sell produce from out of the state and the country. Some cities such as Dallas, Texas, have set up their code to clearly delimit how a farmers’ market is to be organized, and who will be allowed to sell at it. The code keeps the markets true to their name.