It's that time of year again, tax time. How will Walmart affect our taxes?

Walmart, like other corporations, has a huge tax expense. It uses public funds for its private development. Walmart uses a number of methods to avoid paying its fair share of taxes. One method is procuring economic development subsidies from the state and local government. This translates into our taxes paying for one of the richest corporations in the world to set up shop here in Clatsop County.

Some of the other ways Walmart takes advantage is infrastructure assistance, tax increment financing, property tax breaks and enterprise zone (and other zone) status. Walmart receives large benefits from the states and the local municipalities where their stores are already located or where they plan on building.

The company uses public services, such as fire and police protection, public schools, public health for their employees and families, highways, streets and transportation systems to bring in their goods. By getting substantial tax breaks, thus not paying their fair share, the burden is shifted to local residents and businesses.

Property tax breaks are frequently given to Walmart projects by the county and local governments by agreeing to forgo revenues from property tax. The abatements can last up to 10 years.

Taxpayers can end up paying all or part of the costs necessary for making the land usable, which includes paying for the construction of access roads, water and sewer lines and other forms of infrastructure. And let's not forget general grants, where some subsidies such as property tax abatements may not be permissible. Economic development officials can arrange for an outright grant of public money to Walmart.

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Talk about everyday low prices, Walmart will be actually costing us more than what we would save shopping there.




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