Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Letter: Wal-Mart Won't Stem Leakage

An interesting letter, appearing in the Staten Island Advance, makes the point that people will continue going to Wal-Mart in New Jersey even if one is built on Staten Island. As we have argued previously, the letter’s author mentions that the lower New Jersey sales tax, as well as cheaper gas, would motivate her to continue crossing state lines:

I think a larger issue for Staten Island (and the city) is the issue of us traveling to New Jersey to save on sales tax. It is worth it for me to pay the toll, shop at Wal-Mart, shop at one of the Jersey malls and not have to pay sales tax (being able to get gas while I am there for a lot less is a subject for another letter). Why shouldn't I, as a savvy consumer who is concerned about the biggest bang I can get for my buck, go where my hard-earned bucks go further?

Even if Wal-Mart came here, I'd still go to Jersey for my big shopping trips. It is not that much farther than it is to either place where Wal-Mart is supposedly coming to, it's just a matter of which bridge I choose to take.
The author has no problems with Wal-Mart – a position we obviously disagree with – but her greater point is well taken and should be examined by politicians and economic development officials who use “stemming leakage” as a reason for why we need the box store on Staten Island.