Sales Tax Revenue

The proponents of Wal-Mart in Rosemead keep bandying some $500,000 in sales tax revenue that's supposed to result from building the store. If that money is so important, why not levy a simple utility tax to raise the money? People shouldn't rely on an unreliable retailer to be the "tax collector."

I calculated that if houses were taxed to raise that mythical sum, the burden would be around $35 annually, per house in Rosemead, more or less. That's guaranteed new revenues. In contrast, the Wal-Mart revenues will come from recapturing revenues lost to other cities, but also by cannibalizing the existing market. That's not new revenues. That's blight.

It gets worse. Reliance on sales-tax schemes floated by big-box developers only shifts the tax burden to those who spend the greatest proportion of their income at these stores: families looking to save money, people carrying personal debt, and others who should be paying fewer taxes, not more.

Taxes are necessary to fund social goods. They should be collected as directly as possible, with most from the people who can afford it best, and used prudently.