Wal-Mart (WMT) does what it can to fight local taxes in areas where it has stores. According to a study by Good Jobs First picked up by The New York Times "the big discount chain has sought to reduce the property taxes it pays on 35 percent of its stores and 40 percent of its distribution centers."
The study raises the concern that the Wal-Mart practice might hurt local tax income in some areas enough to hurt local schools and government services.
After looking at Wal-Mart practices, the group concluded that t its retail stores that carry a low value for property-tax purposes, the company saved an average of $40,000 a store where it filed a tax challenge. The distribution center savings averaged $289,000 for each request for lower taxes.
Wal-Mart is often the whipping boy for these kinds of local problems. The company drives out small businesses. It doesn’t treat its workers well. Now, it tries to get better tax rates.
On the tax rate issue, the big retailer is no different from any other company or citizen. What the survey does not show is that a lot of people and businesses challenge their tax base.
So what? It’s the American way.
Douglas A. McIntyre