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Thread: wal-mart & tax incentives (article)

  1. #26
    Cyburbian GeogPlanner's avatar
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    Originally posted by giff57
    The subsidies of which I speak ....well in thinking about it and reading your post, it probably is the wrong word for it.

    What I was refering to was the jurisdiction builiding infrastructure, giving tax breaks, and such....
    I'd consider those in the subsidy category...
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  2. #27
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by GeogPlanner
    i think that the chain-chasers are a feel good thing. for example, if you can get a fancy-pants starbucks in downtown, then it feels good and looks good, right? maybe not to the people that want only small coffee shops, but to the masses, to be able to attract a starbucks makes it seem as though someone is doing something right. in saratoga springs, everyone scoffed at the arrival of chains, but i think it's not such a bad thing. people like thier name brands. and sometimes, the chains attract others who wouldn't normally go to a downtown...like my mom and sister and girlfriend and etc...
    If they are chasing chains just because they prefer Starbucks to the local coffee shop, they are making a big mistake. The other reasons you point to are dead-on. Retail locates where there are names people know. For years, one of the tricks used by some chains was to look for Blockbuster. (Seriously!) This can work out well if it attracts customers that also help the local merchants.

    The other factor in courting retail is that it takes a lot of work and time. Chains simplify things by having real estate / site selection representatives and by also having a well-defined demographic, product and format. It is far easier to work with a chain than to attempt to attract either a start-up business or expansion of a small local operation (i.e., the guy in the city one-over).

    All that said, retail attraction in economic development plays a critical role in many of the types of developments people think of as ideal (for example, commercial district revitalization, new town centers, mixed-use development, etc.)

  3. #28
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    I think the issue of "subsidy" is broad. Wal Mart has developed a way to transfer costs to others. That's one of the reasons their prices are so low.

    When others pay for part of Wal Mart's operation, is that a subsidy? I think it is because of Wal Mart's dominance. So I think it is time to look at those issues and their broad influence on the national economy and job market.

    There was an interesting article about a pickle company (Vlasic, I think), where Wal Mart insisted on a gallon jar at a ridiculously low price. The pickle company needed the Wal Mart account to survive. It is probable that they added cost to every other jar of pickles to sell to Wal Mart at the demanded price. So every jar sold at Safeway, Kroger, etc. had a Wal Mart subsidy cost added. (The pickle company subsequently went bankrupt. The news story did not indicate whether the Wal Mart deals were a cause of bankruptcy).

    I am not a Wal Mart basher. I am concerned about broad policy and economic issues relating to the various monopolies and near monopolies in our current economy. Free markets become un-free when monopolies reach a certain level of power.

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