Governer Vetos Bill to Require Studies on Big Box Retail

The governer vetoed the bill that would require developers of "big box" retail stores like Wal-Mart to produce an economic impact study to inform local governments about the likely effects of a development upon the local economy. The reports would have detailed the impacts on busineses, wages, public services, and traffic.

He also vetoed, in another bill, a raise in the minimum wage from $6.75 an hour to $7.75 an hour.

He claimed that both would hurt the economic recovery.

What I don't understand is how a raise in the minimum wage would hurt the recovery. Every dollar spent on raising the lowest wages would be spent pretty quickly, putting money back into the economy, meaning that the economy would benefit. It would have the negative impact of making it more expensive to hire new people, but the increase in consumer demand could make up for the slack.

I expected the veto of the Big Box bill. It lacked enough support in the Senate and Assembly. Arnold is correct in saying that requiring an EIS would impede the economy, but the effect would be negligible. These big boxes cost tens of millions of dollars to erect, and an extra $50,000 or $100,000 to perform an economic study would not affect the overall cost very much.

Also, these stores already perform detailed economic studies, but keep them secret from the public. Notably, the state Chamber of Commerce was a supporter of the bill.

Here's a site for an economic consulting company that focuses on retail: Retail Forward. They're selling a report about how to figure out what Wal-Mart will destroy next.

Here's another one, in the Mid-Atlantic area. And another one focusing on market analysis.

Knowledge is power, especially when you have a few billion dollars in assets. This economic impact study law would help put local government and small business on an even playing field with big box retailers, who already have the staff and resources to conduct market analysis for themselves.