America's big box stores sucked up corporate welfare and killed Main Street -- now they're ducking property tax


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/17/destroying-american-towns.html


#2

ds9-quark-shocked


#3

On the other hand sometimes you just can’t win. In Vallejo CA they wanted to build a mall but the city council was mostly downtown merchants, so they fought it. The mall moved out to Fairfield. The big stores moved out of downtown Vallejo to the mall and downtown went downhill and some would argue so did Vallejo.


#4

Wally World is your friend…


#5

Nobody wins forever. At some point, these a-holes are going to get it stuffed up them, but I have no idea when, nor how much damage they will cause before said stuffing.

Nobody in 1928 envisioned what the next 40 years would look like. The top dogs just assumed more of the same. Still, the whole damned economy had to collapse before they got trimmed.

What will it take?


#6

Them as has, gets.


#7

I had never heard of this until today when I was reading one of our local papers’ account of the town and state’s attempts to legislate against it. Kingston is still reeling from the abandonment of IBM in the 90’s, so they’re being pretty proactive based on accounts of other municipalities. Hopefully it goes somewhere.

https://hudsonvalleyone.com/2018/11/13/town-of-ulster-vs-dark-store-theory/


#8

When will municipalities learn that luring big businesses to open a franchise there by offering them everything but the kitchen sink will usually backfire within a few years?


#9

Is this standard in the US?
In most Canadian provinces, municipal taxes are based on “market value” assessment, mandated by provincial law. They compare recent selling prices of nearby properties, adjusted for land and building size. The “dark store theory” seems similar.


#10

Here in BC is it a market based assessment, definitely. That takes into account any upgrades etc. If it was on a dead street with empty storefronts it might well take a dip in value.


#11

Yet another late-stage capitalist variation on a good old-fashioned Mob bust-out.


#12

In the US, it varies by county.

The county I live in had a formula in use which showed that your property was worth more and more every year, even during a recession (because they factor out old homes, foreclosures, short sales–everything that negatively impacts the selling price). My association sued the county a few years ago, and my taxes are now less than half what they were–now in line with what I could actually sell my home for.


#13

Just as soon as they stop being paid not to learn. About the same time as the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.


#14

it’s the corporate playbook next-level: socialize the expenses, privatize the profits

someone needs to sit down and figure out the net taxes all the stores walmart replaced would have paid in a town and then vs how little walmart pays


#15

A similar thing happened to many small towns in PA when malls were new and more attractive to shoppers than the same old stores they supported for decades. Those downtown areas that survived worked hard to make themselves more appealing. They offered better service and unique goods in contrast to the cookie-cutter experience at malls where shoppers found the same stores and merchandise from one shopping center to another.

That strategy has not been as successful against the big box stores, because of the price difference. The addition of one-stop shopping with grocery and pharmacy pushed more smaller stores out of business. Delivery seems to be killing the rest.

Property taxes are a real sore point in PA, though. There are too many people on fixed incomes who lose their homes because those rates go up every year. Pols have tried several times to find a different way to fund schools, because without corporate payments the remaining local taxpayers cannot make up the difference.


#16

They don’t get to learn. Most municipalities have a really limited scope of geographic influence, so if they don’t offer the incentives, then the megacorp convinces the community five miles away to offer the incentive. If you are in the first community that passed on the store you lose even the scraps of income you would have gotten by offering the incentive and your existing retail is just as crushed. Everyone knows that they will lose in the long run under the current system, but they will lose 5-10 years faster if they don’t play along. What we really need is stronger regional/state antipoaching agreements to stop the practice.


#17

surprise-surprise-surprise


#18

What I find so completely hilarious about this situation is how closely it follows the pattern of “trusts”, from back around the turn of the 20th century. The Big Names in a particular industry… coal, oil, sugar, etc. … would all target the local markets somewhere and basically undersell their local, smaller competitors out of business. Whereupon they would immediately raise prices, the profits from which would get turned around to support similar practices in a different area, and so on.
Teddy Roosevelt rode his “Trust-buster” reputation all the way to the White House.
Apparently, Herr Drumphfenfuhrer has ridden the mirror-opposite reputation to the same destination…


#19

When it backfires, within a few years.

In retrospect, it is staggering to think that TR would and could accomplish this. Certainly, the far easier (and lucrative) path would’ve been to continue to assist and further the Trusts in their ventures.


#20

Just add a law that allows the government to buy any property at the tax valuation. Make rules so that the tax value is supposed to be ~10% higher than real market value and drop the tax level accordingly and everything should work out for honest people.