Tribune Keeps Up the Wal-Mart Drumbeat

generic walmart photo
Wal-Mart is allegedly considering opening a store in El Monte, so the San Gabriel Valley Tribune is beating the Wal-Mart drum, again.

Unfortunately, Frank Girardot and Rebecca Kimitch make the mistake of taking what Maggie Clark says at face value. Wal-Mart saved Rosemead? Why not do the math to see how reasonable the claim might be?

In 2008-2009, the city budgeted $27.2 million in total expenditures. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart claimed their store in Rosemead would generate as much as $800,000 in annual sales tax revenue for the city. That means Wal-Mart's total sales tax contribution in 2008-2009 amounted to no more than 3% of the city's budgeted expenditures.

Sure, not chicken feed. But not exactly carrying the city all by itself. And way less than Longo Toyota contributed to El Monte during "Cash for Clunkers," and almost certainly less than Longo will contribute even in its current state of disarray.


The real question is whether

The real question is whether there was an average increase in sales tax revenues from the pre-WM era to the post-WM era, and the amount of that increase.

It's not like people spend more money because of WM. It's more a question of where they spend their money.

The first year, total city

The first year, total city tax revenues were flat (compared to neighboring cities, which had larger increases in tax revenue). The second year, revenues were up more than neighboring cities. The third year, revenues were down, but now as far down as neighboring cities.

Overall, it's a net plus, but probably a net of less than the claimed $800,000 a year (because of the substitution effect nightreader mentioned). Obviously, if El Monte were to open a Wal-Mart, they'd take some business from the Rosemead Wal-Mart. Meanwhile, the idea that a Wal-Mart could replace the cash cow that was/is Longo Toyota is just ludicrous, unless you're willing to ignore facts and parrot Wal-Mart talking points.

I get a lot of stuff via

I get a lot of stuff via ebay and craigslist, locally. It's not that I'm getting such a great deal - though there are great deals. It's less work than going shopping, which can be unpleasant.

These transactions are largely untaxed, and they do substitute for retail purchases.

Additionally, when I have stuff that's broken, or that I just don't use anymore, it gets put on the "free" section of craigslist.

People get hypnotized by all

People get hypnotized by all the dollar signs these stores are supposed to bring, but they ought to know there's a price to pay: Traffic, pollution, noise, and a complete corruption of city government. . . .