No News Is Good News?

walmart_storefrontIf it’s been quiet here at No Mount Orab Wal-Mart that may be a good thing. It’s difficult to know what is happening in light of the global economic meltdown, especially concerning the capital building programs of major companies.

Wal-Mart has announced elsewhere that it is scaling back its expansion plans. Several planned Supercenters have been scrapped. In fact, I have heard through the grapevine that the entire Supercenter idea may be in jeopardy, as WalMart’s grocery sections are underperforming.

Here’s what I do know:

The site supposedly zoned for the Mount Orab Wal-Mart has seen zero activity since the initial flurry of tree cutting back in late 2007. In fact, the section of trees that was supposed to be removed by mid-2008 still stands.

The local newspapers have said little about the project in the wake of the October 2007 announcement.

Kroger announced a Marketplace store for the area, which would make the Wal-Mart overkill for the size of Mount Orab.

The housing market implosion curtailed all new homebuilding. Existing building projects, save for the medical center, have stalled. Perhaps the great move east for disaffected Cincinnatians will not materialize, throwing off demographic analysis for Brown County and environs.

No matter what the issue, the lack of activity and news on the planned Wal-Mart is curious. Maybe, for those of us against the building of a new Wal-Mart in Mount Orab, that’s good news.

Wal-Mart Employees on Public Assistance—That You Pay For

This article says it all. When you want to know why your paycheck brings home less and less, your income is going to pay for the healthcare of Wal-Mart employees:

Report: Ohio spent $111M to insure workers

9/1/2008, 4:11 p.m. EDT The Associated Press

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A new report shows Ohio spent $111.5 million in 2007 to cover Medicaid costs for workers who are not enrolled in employer health insurance plans.

Policy Matters Ohio, a liberal think tank in Cleveland, estimates the state covered more than 111,000 workers and their dependents from 50 companies with the highest Medicaid enrollment.

The federal government covered $182 million of the total cost. Researchers analyzed monthly Medicaid enrollment data to compile a list of statewide employers with the most employees who received government health assistance.

“Right now, we’re in a very tight budget,” said Piet van Lier, the study’s author and a senior researcher at Policy Matters Ohio. “Medicaid is a very big expense — not only for Ohio, but for other states — and here’s a substantial benefit going to employers.”

Most of the employers included in the lists are retailers, restaurant chains and staffing firms.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services warned that people should be careful not to jump to conclusions based on the Medicaid enrollment numbers.

“Eligibility for employer-sponsored health care coverage does not preclude eligibility for Medicaid,” the department said in a statement. “Several circumstances could lead people who are eligible for employer coverage to apply for and receive Medicaid.”

Wal-Mart topped the list with a monthly average of 13,141 employees and dependents enrolled in Medicaid last year.

Wal-Mart spokesman Greg Rossiter said the rankings are “notoriously unreliable” and hard to verify.

He said the company offers competitive benefits to hourly employees who work at least 34 hours a week, but some Wal-Mart employees only work part-time. The benefit structure varies depending on employment status, Rossiter said.

Wal-Mart giveth and Wal-Mart taketh away—from your wallet. We don’t need a Wal-Mart in Brown County. Shortsighted leaders aren’t looking for real solutions, just easy ones with plenty of flash, even if they have no substance in the end.

Banking on Taxes from Wal-Mart? Think Again…

Sorry, I had it here somewhere...
Sorry, I had it here somewhere...

One of the big promises that accompanies the selling of a new Wal-Mart to starry-eyed small town officials is the tax lure. Suddenly, Wal-Mart comes to town and with it the gravy train. You’ve got local mayors and county officials dreaming at night of the ways to spend the millions they predict will roll in.

But Wal-Mart doesn’t like paying taxes. Honestly, though, who can blame them? No one likes paying taxes.

The problem is that Wal-Mart promises local governments a big payout, then turns around and delivers something else. I don’t know how you were raised, but my momma told me lying was wrong.

A simple Google search on the words “Wal-Mart” and “taxes” will uncover a litany of scheming that would make a mafioso blanch. Here’s a sampling:

From The Wall Street Journal : Why Wal-Mart Setup Shop in Italy

From The New York Times : Study Says Wal-Mart Fights Local Taxes

From The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel : Wal-Mart Owes Back Taxes, State Says

From Good Jobs First: Rolling Back Property Tax Payments

Fact is, Wal-Mart doesn’t want our community to get its money, and it will find any way it can not to pay the very money it promised those starry-eyed local officials.

Brown County can’t wait to build a new jail with money it longs to get from taxing a new Wal-Mart. Anyone want to guess what happens when the county starts building that jail and then suddenly the funds just ain’t there?

Who goes to jail then?

No Wal-Mart? Well, We Can Always Hope…

According to the Wednesday, June 18 edition of The Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart announced it will be scaling back the number of stores it opens in the next few years, chopping more than a billion dollars in capital expenditures in 2009 alone.

The Journal also notes the following:

Critics have questioned the benefit of Wal-Mart supercenters on local communities, particularly small towns with mom-and-pop stores that are often forced out of business when a Wal-Mart store opens in the area.

Yeah, exactly.

Plans for Kroger, a local company that keeps jobs and money in the Greater Cincinnati area (unlike Wal-Mart), include a new Marketplace center that would fulfill any perceived need for access to a wider range of goods. We can only hope that Wal-Mart decides to take the retail fight elsewhere.

Your Tax Dollars at Work (or How Wal-Mart Costs You Money)

Money, money, money...Last week, the local newspaper reported that two police officers were added to the Mt. Orab police force. As I noted in an earlier post, most estimates place the yearly total cost of those officers (with salaries, training, and equipment) at about $75,000 per. The article also notes that the officers were added in expectation of the new shopping center anchored by Wal-Mart.

So the Wal-Mart’s not supposed to open until 2011, from what many have said, yet we’re already looking at an expenditure through that time totaling nearly half a million dollars of taxpayer money to pay for the officers. In a town of just 3000 people.

Tell us again how Wal-Mart saves us money?