California Assemblyman Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch) has filed legislation entitled: “The Act to End Corporate Big Box Retailer Extortion”. The measure would protect cities from big box retailers playing one city off another for incentives. The bill was reportedly prompted by a case in Martinez, CA, where COSTCO allegedly threatened to leave town unless the city granted it $2 million in tax rebates for a store expansion. The local media has reported that Costco wants the city to return $2 million in taxes over several years to help pay for a parking lot upgrade as part of the store’s expansion. One Councilman objected and said such taxes were meant to go to roads, services and recreational facilities, not to subsidize a multi-million company. Torlakson’s bill would prevent towns within a certain buffer zone from using public money to support relocation of a nearby business. Torlakson announced his bill in front of the Costco store in Martinez. “Why should the public be subsidizing a profitable corporation that will serve the region, the same employment base, regardless of that public subsidy?” Torlakson said.
For further information, contact Sprawl-Busters, or contact California Assemblyman Tom Torlakson.