Low-wage WalMart jobs erode tax base

Too many people in La Crosse have been bamboozled into the belief that a south side WalMart would be a good thing.

We keep hearing about the hundreds of jobs this monstrosity might create. What keeps getting overlooked is that these jobs typically start at $6.50/hour or less, and precious few people see a double-digit hourly wage. Furthermore, WalMart seems to have a nasty habit of pressuring employees into unpaid overtime, and has even gone as far as to lock employees in the store after they’ve clocked out. (New York Times, June 25). (This story was carried by many papers nationwide. I wonder why the Tribune has neglected to pass along this important and locally relevant story?)

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what will happen to the local tax base when these hundreds of overworked and underpaid WalMart employees can’t afford to buy, improve or maintain decent homes.

We have a decent locally-owned supermarket and a respectable Wisconsin-owned discount store up the street from this proposed blight. Why do we need to abandon our fine local businesses just to send our money to a predatory corporation from Arkansas?

WalMart drones will go on about “low prices”. They confuse price with value. WalMart is infested with cheap junk from third-world sweatshops. In terms of value, we are far better served at “Main Street” stores, where the staff actually know and care about their products and their customers.

If this obscenity gets built, it will create a traffic nightmare. Those of us who fought so hard to keep a new highway from being shoved down our throats will have to contend with the WalMart people when they come crying for more concrete (as they always do).

Every way you look at it, this WalMart deal is bad news. But I don’t think the city should walk away from it … they should run like hell.

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