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Wal-Mart Stores has filed two lawsuits, with the California State Superior Court and the Federal Court, challenging the Turlock City Council's adoption of an ordinance that will prohibit retailers with total sales floor area in excess of 100,000 square feet from devoting more than 5% of the sales floor area to the sale of non taxable merchandise, such as groceries and prescription drugs

The ban is seen as a direct repudiation of Wal-Mart Supercenters.

The Turlock City Council passed the controversial ordinance on December 16, 2003.

"Wal-Mart seeks the Court's intervention to prevent the City's unconstitutional attempt to restrict competition and regulate interstate commerce," Wal-Mart spokesman Peter Kanelos said. "Targeting Wal-Mart with irrational restrictions is not a legitimate function of city government."

Wal-Mart's plans include opening some 40 supercenters in California over the next five years, but has met pockets of resistance from certain communities. In some cases, Wal-Mart is responding with litigation; in others, it is pushing for referenda that go directly to the voters.
KC's View:
We think we've had a change of heart about this whole issue.

We used to believe that communities should feel free to take such actions, but we're beginning to think that it may not be the smartest approach. Wal-Mart will litigate its way around the restrictions, pour money into campaigns that will supersede the laws, or will just open 99,000 square foot stores to which the restrictions don't apply.

It just wastes time and money most of these municipalities don't have.

So here's what these communities ought to do: triple or quadruple the tax rate for all such stores so that the increased tax revenue can support the new stresses put on the local infrastructure, pay teachers better money, put more computers in the classrooms, hire more cops.

There are too many communities out there that do exactly the opposite - offer tax breaks to the world's richest and most successful company as way of getting them to come to town. And sure, they may generate more sales taxes…but the time has come to really take advantage of Wal-Mart's (and other similar company's) desire for world domination.