Imagine a world where taxpayers in every small town build new roads to every business that wants one. That’s the world Wal-Mart inhabits — a world where public subsidies literally carry people to their front door. The tiny town of Nashville, North Carolina is only 3 square miles, and has a population of just 4,501 residents. It has 38 retail stores, including 5 grocery stores, 3 general merchandise stores, and 10 gas stations. The town calls itself the “original” Nashville. It’s the county seat of Nash County. It’s also the site of a new Wal-Mart supercenter. The road to that Wal-Mart supercenter is being built with public welfare. The world’s richest retailer just can’t get enough of that good,old corporate welfare. Somehow Wal-Mart convinces local officials that unless they put out the cash to build a road, or lay down water and sewer pipes, that the giant retailer just won’t be able to locate in their city or town. Officials fall over themselves to put Wal-Mart on the dole, giving the corporation millions of dollars in tax supported infrastructure. These subsidies, which are not offered to smaller merchants, help Wal-Mart bury the competition. According to the Rocky Mount Telegram, town officials in Nashville are building a 5 lane road “to provide access to Wal-Mart” on Eastern Avenue. The supercenter will be located next to the State Employees’ Credit Union near the Nashville Commons Shopping Center. Town Manager Preston Mitchell said the new road will be named EastPointe Avenue. Land preparation for the project began about a month ago. Mitchell told the newspaper that Wal-Mart will retain local sales tax in the Nashville economy, as opposed to it being spent outside the area. The supercenter will be 153,430 s.f. and include a garden center. The store is expected to be finished by April of 2008. It takes about nine months to finish a supercenter once building starts, Mitchell said.
A good ribbon cutting day for the Nashville, North Carolina Wal-Mart would be April 1st. It’s an April Fool’s joke on the taxpayers of Nashville and North Carolina, who are paving every inch of the way to Wal-Mart’s front door. There is certainly no justification for building anything for Wal-Mart at taxpayer’s expense. Better infill of land in Nashville would have meant no new road, and a smaller store, closer to the center of the town, would have eliminated the need to create the road as well. This superstore is not being built for Nashville residents alone. A superstore needs about ten times the population base that Nashville alone can supply. But existing merchants in Nashville, who pay their property and sales taxes, are, in effect, helping to underwrite the cost of Wal-Mart’s new road. Wal-Mart will reciprocate by putting the smaller stores out of business. In time, the Wal-Mart manager will approach the town with the suggestion that the road be renamed “Sam’s Way.” That might be an appropriate suggestion if Wal-Mart had picked up the bill. But as it stands, Wal-Mart will make millions off its new store in Nashville — made possible through the generosity of Nashville taxpayers and its local businesses. Readers are encouraged to call Nashville Mayor Warren Evans at 252-459-8926 with this messgage: “Mayor Evans, I suggest you find a way to bill Wal-Mart for that 5 lane new road you are building to their door. Better hurry up, though, before that superstore ends up being another one of Wal-Mart’s abandoned buildings. You can have them repay you over 20 years — which is just about the lifespan of that new superstore you approved.”