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March 09, 2008


Josh Strupp

"Since the store opened in September 2006, the county has set aside the full $370,488 in taxes generated by Cabela's merchandise sales for the first loan payment, Haag said.

In 2007, the Cabela's store collected $234,262 in sales taxes for the county, or nearly 2.6% of all county sales tax collections last year."

$234,262? By my quick calculations that puts the county at over a $135,000 deficit to pay it's 2007 loan payment to cover it's 4 million handout to Cabela's. So Washington County taxpayers are now paying the difference between the loan and the sales tax collections out of their own pockets I assume? That would mean that this corporate welfare idea is actually being partially paid for by property tax dollars, which was precisely what the county was trying to avoid in the first place. Not to mention that sales at Cabela's will most likely decrease as more competition moves in and the buzz of a new store subsides over the years. The way I see it, that deficit will only grow in the future.

Now that I look at it, even if Washington County had the $4 million cash on hand to give out to Cabela's, that money (at no interest) would still need to generate over $260,000/year in sales tax revenues over that same 15 year period, so they would be in the red even if they had the cash to hand out. Who the hell thought this was actually a good idea up there? Wow.

Greg Kowalski

Hey Josh, you forgot something: the slumping economy isn't going to drive more people to buy hunting gear or fishing rods, either.

Who would've thought a Cabela's was a bad idea for the Milwaukee area?

John Michlig

The math on this gets bleaker and bleaker the closer you look. And remember: We can only calculate the damage based on what is PUBLICLY KNOWN. Cabela's has said loudly and clearly (see Hightower's article) that "its privacy rights would be violated if details about its public subsidy were revealed to the public."


Josh Strupp

...so if the county owns the fish and wildlife displays, do they pay for the upkeep or does the county fork over even more money to Cabela's to maintain the displays?

Someone actually came up with this "temporary ownership" thing. Simply amazing.


I keep waiting for Washington County's most prolific blogger (*cough*Owen*cough*) to voice an opinion.

Do they have crickets in the wildlife displays?

Greg Kowalski

Yeah, you don't usually hear the mouthpieces of big business blab about something like this!

Which actually, to use a 21-year-old phrase, sucks. We could definitely use an overheated Mark Belling screaming over the incident or someone calling Cabela's "fish breath" or something similar.

Josh Strupp

You're correct Greg. This type of thing should be as offensive as excesive government spending or political cronyism but it never seems to get the same coverage from people like Belling because it goes against everything that was deemed to be a good idea on paper. Unfortunately, the GOP has been hijacked by politicians that are no better than tax-and-spend liberals they loath. The taxing and spending just comes from a different place.

Furthermore, where is the public outrage in Washington County and, more specifically, Richfield over this disaster? Judging by the tone of this article (where it appears that even the journalist writing the article is clueless to the problem he accidently uncovered) this issue just doesn't seem like a big deal up there. Pretty sad.

Greg Kowalski

Well I don't know Josh. I think Washington County, and possibly Richfield, is going through a development moment like Franklin had with Target.

Whenever controversy hit the building, you would hear the usual suspects and Mayor Taylor:

"All the people I talk to WANT a Target!"


So, in Washington County and Richfield...let's hear it from the politicians:

"All the people I talk to WANTED a Cabela's!"

John Michlig

"All the people I talk to WANT a Target!"
"All the people I talk to WANTED a Cabela's!"

That's just ONE of the problems with an Old Boys network like the one we have right here in Franklin. Not a contrary voice in the lot of them; all mortally afraid of appearing "anti-development" in front of the lead dogs.

Again, though I have nothing against the guy beyond his "go along with the lead dogs" style, my district's alderman may be in for a big surprise come election day.

Greg Kowalski

It's almost like these politicians have a boogieman under their beds, and if they say the wrong words then...and ONLY then...will the boogieman come out and terrorize them.

John Michlig

Another of the many reasons that political campaigns should be publicly funded.

You don't have to be a politician long - Democrat OR Republican - before you're bought and paid for. "Wal-Mart? LOVE YA!"

Even the most wide-eyed idealist is susceptible.
... Much like you saw in the film CITIZEN KANE. You HAVE seen CITIZEN KANE, right :)

Greg Kowalski


I knew I forgot to do something over the weekend!

Josh Strupp

Greg, you should consider blogging about this topic as well. Seems right up your alley. Not to mention that this sort of thing needs to reach as many Franklin residents as possible, considering the current state of development in this city. Just a thought.

Greg Kowalski

I'll definitely be looking into the issue for a future entry.

However Josh, did you read my recent entry about development?

It's kinda long, but I think it serves a good purpose!

Click my name if you'd like to read it.

Josh Strupp

"Kind of long"? Why would I want to read something kind of long? I'm a big believer in reading only slogans, memos, and talking points. "Kind of long" material might work contrary to my convictions and beliefs.

Sorry about that bout of sarcism. Not sure where it came from.

Seriously though, I haven't had the opportunity to read it Greg but I will.

Bryan Maersch

One thing you all missed out on, CABELA'S PRICES SUCK.

Even as a hubungus box store, I have priced items that I purchase at other local Sporting Goods stores and they are much higher.

will support non-extortion stores like Gander Mountain or Dunhams for my purchases.

Cabela's is all flash!

John Michlig

"One thing you all missed out on, CABELA'S PRICES SUCK."

Ah, but Cabela's is a "destination" - - they claim that just being there is worth the extra dough for a pair of thermal socks.


Indeed - Gander Mountain or Sherper's are the places to go.

james wigderson

I realize that Mr. Bullock has a hard time reading, but Owen's position is quite clear from the record:

I know Bullock has a history of misrepresenting what other bloggers write, but this is mind-boggling.

Marcus Aurelius

The Link James provides does not work, however go to Boots and Sabres and initiate a new search on "cabela" you will see a number of posts about this story.

Bryan Maersch

Looks like Kowalski and Strupp got dissed by Wigderson on their comments:

"Now I'm going to guess that Kowalski and Strupp are just intellectually lazy and didn't feel like checking into the huge firestorm (by Washington County standards) that occurred when the board passed the subsidy and then later tried to back out in the face of public pressure. And given Mark Belling's past opposition to some subsidies they might want to actually check before making a blanket statement. But that's not as much fun, is it?"


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