For quite a while we’ve been saying prior to considering any Wal-Mart application, a thorough and independent economic impact study is needed. This cost benefit analysis should examine the jobs created versus the jobs lost, the number of stores that would be put out of business, the impact on traffic and other infrastructure, the sales tax gained from the store versus the tax dollars lost (public subsidization, use of public health care, loss of tax-paying small businesses) and whether the store would help stem so-called retail leakage to New Jersey and the suburbs.
While this idea has so far gotten little attention here in New York City, other municipalities across the country are first studying the affects of Wal-Mart supercenters before going ahead with approval. Included in this list is Galt, a Californian town of only 20,000. The City Council there is interested in ascertaining Wal-Mart’s affects and will be awarding a contract tonight for the study.
We hope the New York City Council follows little Galt’s lead.