Monday, January 12, 2009

Crunching the Wal-Mart numbers

read more at Vallejo Times Herald
"A recent Times-Herald article on Wal-Mart's one-year anniversary quoted me accurately but omitted the exact figures for the city that Wal-Mart has contributed. Based on publicly released figures available from the state of California (\sutax\localdist.htm), we at California Healthy Community Networks have been able to determine the following figures:

Net revenue for American Canyon from retail sales in 2007/2008 (Aug. 14, 2007 to Aug. 13, 2008) -- $1,604,658

Since Wal-Mart opened mid-fiscal quarter, we estimate based on subsequent quarters that Wal-Mart and all of the other new businesses in American Canyon generated $147,257 that are not in the above figures.

This makes the total figures for retail sales in American Canyon for the period at $1,751,915.

Total sales for American Canyon in the comparable period for 2006/2007 is 1,256,451.

This makes the total generated difference between the Wal-Mart's opening and the previous year at $495,464.

Since specific businesses do not release their actual sales tax revenues, and the other new outlets in American Canyon (including a shoe store, Radio Shack, T-Mobile cell phones, a gas station, 10 new restaurants and two hotels) also contributed to the increase, we are left with the general impression that Wal-Mart contributed between $300,000 and $350,000 to the city's coffers in sales tax revenues. Wal-Mart promised more than $600,000 of sales tax revenues to the city of American Canyon. We at

California Healthy Community Networks would love to see Wal-Mart's actual figures and see if they are significantly different from what the state seems to claim and what Wal-Mart promised the taxpayers of American Canyon.

This $350k they did receive also has to cover the increased costs of having 2-3 shift officers patrolling either Highway 29 in front of Wal-Mart or the parking lot of Wal-Mart. Also, most critically for the long-term health of American Canyon, nothing in this money is going towards the upgrade of Highway 29 to 6 lanes that the citizens are required to pay now that the city approved the Supercenter going in on that state highway.

For you folks who may not have heard this part, the Wal-Mart Supercenter was not part of the city's long-term plans submitted to Caltrans for planning purposes. The city went ahead and approved the development in spite of the fact that Caltrans had no funding mechanism to expand the highway to accommodate the increased traffic and access required by a Supercenter. Caltrans denied a funding request from the city and the city sued in state court to force Caltrans to pay for the highway upgrade.

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