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2005-06-16
Tamacqua, PA. More Corporate Welfare For Wal-Mart

A school board in Pennsylvania wants to give Wal-Mart welfare, because the giant retailer is apparently too poor to build stores without taxpayer assistance. The Tamacqua, Pennsylvania Area School Board has proposed a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District that would have the school district, township and Schuylkill County float bonds through the county Industrial Development Authority to pay for $1.7 million in highway improvements a developer says Wal-Mart needs for its Supercenter. The bonds would be repaid over 20 years with taxes Wal-Mart would pay on the property. Wal-Mart only made $10 billion in profits last year, and is the largest retailer in the world. Some school board members opposed the subsidy to the retailer, saying Wal-Mart should pay for the road improvements out of its own funds. Two of the three boards have to approve the tax increment financing. The Zamias Development company of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, which will sell the site to Wal-Mart, has said no deal will happen unless there is some form of tax relief. The proposal, called a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance program, would give Zamias $1.45 million in tax breaks of 40 to 80% over eight years. In the first two years, Zamias would get 80% off its tax bill, then 70% in the next two years, 60% for two more years, 50%t in the seventh year and 40% in the final year. The developers have told local officials they "want quick action."

What you can do: This tax giveaway gets the bonehead of the month award from Sprawl-Busters. The Wal-Mart Board of Directors, and the 5 Waltons must get a good chuckle over quick deals like this. But taxpayers who are subsidizing the richest retailer, and smaller competitors, must all be incredulous over the stupidity of this deal. If Wal-Mart does not have deep enough pockets to afford their own stores, then the taxpayers should not have to bail them out. Wal-Mart should be paying communities fees to locate in their borders, not receiving public welfare to ruin the economy. For many earlier stories on this subject, search this site by "corporate welfare."










 
 
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