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Continued reaction to our suggestion last week that, rather than attempting to ban Wal-Mart, more communities ought to simply triple or quadruple property taxes for big box retailers based on the stress they put on community infrastructure.

One MNB user wrote:

Sort of like a community slotting fee??

Well, yeah. Sort of. We hadn't thought of it that way…

Another MNB user wrote:

Isn't Wal-Mart doing its share in providing lower prices?

Are they supposed to do it all?


Hey, global domination has its price.

You want to be the Nation of Wal-Mart, you have to live with the responsibilities.

There was a story last week about how Arizona legislators were considering a bill that would penalize communities for offering tax breaks to companies like Wal-Mart. That's a practice that really galls us…but that's not an opinion shared by everyone:

Your support of the State of Arizona penalizing the local communities for providing tax breaks to the big box stores is off base. What ever happened to local community decision-making? Do you think Wal-Mart doesn't provide influence at the state level? I believe it is important that decisions involving communities be decided at the local level rather than some politician who has no local interest making a decision for a local community. Raising taxes is not the answer to curbing Wal-Mart's growth, instead the local, regional and national retailers need to get back to the basics of running good stores and pricing the products at reasonable levels.

Instead of grossing up their retails, be priced right on the top 200 hundred items. Run top notch perishable departments and instill customer relations programs to create the right shopping atmosphere, then the chains will get back to being a major force in the individual communities. Grocery retailing is not "rocket science!" Attack Wal-Mart where they have weaknesses, not by increasing taxes.

We agree that the responsibility for competing with Wal-Mart rests with its competitors, not with government.

That said, how many communities offer tax breaks to Wal-Mart that they never offer to local, home-grown businesses? We suspect there are quite a few.

We're just looking for a level playing field.

In a related story, we had a piece last week about toy manufacturers trying to figure out how to support retailers other than Wal-Mart by offering exclusive product introductions and the like.

MNB user Mohanh Mehra wrote:

I disagree with your view that toy manufacturers should take strong stand against Wal-Mart so as to minimize it's influence. It may sound good, but in our free-market system, it will not work. There are a number of other toy manufacturers, both here and in the far east who will do everything they can to fill the vacuum. It may also be counter productive, as Wal-Mart may "retaliate" against the manufacturers by demanding even more aggressive pricing or merchandising support on the other items.

It is the American consumer who will suffer ultimately. If Wal-Mart saves the consumer 15-20%, this is a very strong economic incentive and the manufacturers are going to hear from them.

Maybe. Then again, in the long run, maybe the American consumer will benefit from diverse competition.
KC's View: