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2001-12-02
Audubon, PA. Wal-Mart Jobs: Running in Place?

The Black Horse Pike Shopping Center in Audubon, Pennsylvania is nearly empty. But according to a report this week in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the hard luck shopping center is soon going to see a new logo. A developer has indicated that Wal-Mart has agreed to go into the center. The negotiations included a little sweetener thrown in for the world's largest retailer. The Delaware River Port Authority tossed in $1.2 million in tax dollars to improve roads leading to the shopping center. The Mayor of Audubon happens to sit on the DRPA board, but he recused himself from the vote this week to subsidize the developer. The DRPA told the media that jobs at the shopping facility will go from 100 currently, to 400 after Wal-Mart opens. But what the DRPA did not explain is that the anchors at Black Horse used to be JC Penney and Bradlees -- both stores that shut down due to "competition" from big box stores like Wal-Mart. In effect, the center lost jobs when Penney's and Bradlee's folded, and the appearance of Wal-Mart will probably just bring the job level back up to what it was before the last tenants went under. So the Black Horse is really running in place, and the advent of Wal-Mart is largely a zero sum game for Audubon.

What you can do: Pennsylvania taxpayers are also footing the $1.2 million bill to spiff up the roads for Wal-Mart shoppers, and local merchants are chipping their taxes in to help Wal-Mart put them out of business. Other merchants in Audubon might wonder what they have to do to get such corporate welfare from the DRPA. In this case, economic development turns out to be more economic displacement than anything more productive.










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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