George Will's local-economy savior Wal-Mart came to Lewiston, ME. Here are some costs of doing business with the retail giant that he didn't mention in his pro-Wal-Mart editorial:
Costs to the city of Lewiston:
- 61 acres of land--assessed at $300,600--for free;
- relocation and expansion of sewer lines, $1 million;
- a new sand and gravel pit for $940,000;
- a new shed for sand and gravel, $800,000;
- a commercial subdivision plan, $45,000;
- water and sewer fee reimbursements, $18,300;
- property tax reimbursements, $5.8 million.
The total comes to nearly $9 million from the city. The TIF (tax incremental financing) deal came to 25 pages, plus a 65 page memo of agreement.
Add to that another $8.4 million in state handouts:
- a "Business Equipment Tax Reimbursement" program that will reimburse Wal-Mart over 12 years as much as $7.8 million on all personal property taxes;
- $1.5 million for road relocations;
- $180,000 in "training money," and
- as much as $348,750 in rebated state income tax that comes from its workers' payroll witholdings.
In return for all this, Wal-Mart had to promise to employ 350 people, employ them for 30 hours per week, and pay them $12 an hour. A Wal-Mart employee on such a shift would make less than $19,000 a year. So about $18 million in state and city hand-outs gets $6.7 million in wages for one year. Take off the "Business Equipment Tax Reimbursement" program (which is spread over 12 years) and it's still a $10 million outlay.