This week another community passed an ordinance that requires big box retailers to provide more information about their impact on the local economy. The Sacremento, California city council voted to approve a temporary ordinance that would force large retailers to put up the funding for an independent economic impact review. Wal-Mart representatives at the meeting came with petitions in favor of their store. They were quoted in the Sacramento Bee as saying, “This is an ordinance being pushed by special interests, namely union leaders, that regulates competition and regulates consumer choice.” This is the same argument that Wal-Mart just lost in Turlock, California. The Sacramento City Council was apparently not impressed by the Wal-Mart petitions, and passed the ordinance anyway. Wal-Mart indicated that it will not give up its efforts to locate a superstore in Sacramento.
Many communities across the country have ordinances that require economic impact reports. Such reports are designed to reveal the impact on public revenues. The oldest of such statutes is from 1971 in Vermont, known as Act 250, which requires an economic impact assessment of the impact of large projects on pubic revenues.