Good news for residents of Pueblo West, Colorado: your community will not become defined as the place “with the Wal-Mart distribution center.” The deal has unraveled because of what one public official called Wal-Mart’s “unreasonable” request for $4 million in tax subsidies. As we have noted often on this website, many of Wal-Mart’s distribution centers are built with large infusions of public money. Even though Wal-Mart earned more than $6 billion in profits last year, it still seems to be unable to wean itself from public welfare, and when communities don’t cough up the welfare payments, Wal-Mart walks away. According to KOAA-TV and other stations, Wal-Mart pulled out of its plans for a huge “D.C.” in Pueblo West. The retailer issued a statement this week that it was no longer interested in building the giant facility. “We decided that we have to move on because we really need to have a site tied up,” said Wal-Mart spokesman Keith Morris. “And this project could go on for another 6-12-18 months and still not have any feasible site tied up and ready to move forward with.” Wal-Mart claimed that the center would have meant 700 jobs and an economic impact of $133 million a year — but that, of course, is Wal-Math, which does not count the jobs and revenue lost elsewhere in the Colorado region due to other firms closing down or reducing workforce. Wal-Mart blamed the county for taking too long, but Pueblo County Commissioner Matt Peulen said Wal-Mart’s requests were unreasonable. “We received a call the 15th of December at 20 ’till 11 in the morning from Wal-Mart, that unless we signed a tax abatement agreement the company would walk. When I asked them how long they’d give us they said 20 minutes to do it.” Commissioner Peulen was already on record opposing tax subsidies for Wal-Mart. “The small business community — they also need help and they’re doing all they can to survive and not coming here asking for tax incentives,” said Commissioner Anthony Nunez. Wal-Mart apparently wanted $4 million in tax breaks over ten years, and when the county said it couldn’t afford it, Wal-Mart booked.
For a copy of Sprawl-Busters’ publication, “Wal-Mart Distribution Centers: Built With Public Welfare,” contact [email protected] For more stories like this of Wal-Mart putting its hands in the public’s pocket, search this site by “corporate welfare.” The lesson here: “No tax breaks for Wal-Mart, nowhere.”