Big Box Stores

The Tribune has an editorial today about the Planning Board's proposed ordinance prohibiting any store in Great Falls over 100,000 square feet, and requiring that stores greater than 75,000 square feet must first provide an "economic analysis." (p.9)

(Who thinks of this stuff? Who thinks they are so smart they should tell everyone else what they can and cannot do?)

The Tribune notes that this would "would seem to say to a prospective business: 'Before you come, we want you to do an analysis to assure that your store isn't too successful.'"

Eeek! The Tribune wrote the same thing as me! I feel so...cheap.

Then the Editorial Board writes: "We appreciate the planning board's desire to protect existing businesses, but restricting business is not the best way to go about it."

I don't "appreciate the planning board's desire to protect existing businesses," do you? I don't think that is government's function, do you?

Where on earth in the Montana or US Constitution does it even suggest that government should provide some greater benefit or protection to a particular business just because it happens to open its doors before another one did? Further, I don't see anything in the ordinance creating the Planning Board (p.3) where our City Commission charged the Board with the task of selecting some business owners for "protection" from others.

This whole thing is a bad idea, it sends a horrible message, and demonstrates a significant overreaching by a very small portion of our populace.

Contact your City Commission and urge them to vote against it.


Paul Stephens said...

Here was my answer to the Tribune editorial, posted on their site. There's more after Peter Johnson's story the next day.
Post subject: Why limit predatory
The purpose of the economic impact study is to determine the
effects on the local economy, other businesses, wages, costs of public
services, etc. It is not about determining whether a particular store is
"successful" or enhances that corporation's bottom line. It does, however,
come up with a figure as to how many local dollars are sucked out of the
local economy, never to return, again. And what sort of "corporate citizen"
a particular company would be. Obviously, Gannett would fail miserably, and
you'd be prevented from sucking the $5-10 million a year you take out of the
local economy, while campaigning furiously against any competing local
newspapers or public radio.

Paul Stephens greateco@3rivers.net
Editor, Montana Green Bulletin
Of every dollar spent at Wal-Mart or other large chain store (Target, K-Mart, Sears, Shop-Ko, etc.), something like 13-20 cents stays in the local economy. For Wal-Mart, less than 8 cents of that goes to local workers, who are vastly underpaid and receive very little in the way of health-care or other benefits. Another six cents or so goes to local taxes, utilities, and other maintenance costs. For every "new job" at Wal-Mart, nearly two better-paying jobs in the local retail sector are lost, and each new Wal-Mart superstore puts a couple of other chain stores out of business, along with a dozen or more local retailers. http://walmartwatch.com/
Most of Wal-mart's products are made in China or other sweat-shop, slave labor countries, where wages range from 12 cents to 50 cents an hour. Even Wal-Mart's American suppliers are generally (and of necessity) low-wage, non-union, out-sourcing companies who lobby extensively against universal health care, and in favor of the Bush-Clinton agenda of more wars, "regime change" (except their own), and exploitation of third world countries and immigrants.

Mr. Spahr (former journalism teacher at Great Falls High), Mr. Huestis (developer of the additional Wal-Mart Superstore since withdrawn), and the other defenders of Wal-Mart and Home Depot-type stores don't tell you that their plans have nothing to do with "free enterprise." They are supporting global monopoly state capitalism, more environmental degradation, more wars and military spending, and some of the worst corporate criminals around. They are advocates of slave labor and the Chinese Communist way of life. The proof is that they oppose even the economic impact studies which would demonstrate these things.
When our most respected local citizens are supporting the economic ruination of our local economy, who are the good guys?
http://www.cce-mt.org is one of them. Montanans for Corporate Accountability in Helena is another. For more information, check these websites: http://walmartwatch.com/

GeeGuy said...

Where in our Constitutions do you find the requirement that, in order to exercise private property rights, one must be a good "corporate citizen?"