Subsidies have diminished the economic impact of suburban Wal-Marts

As the Chicago City Coumcil considers a proposed South Side Wal-Mart, it might consider reviewing the subsidy deals--worth nearly $50 million--used to lure Wal-Mart to at least eight locations in suburban Cook County.

According to the nonprofit Good Jobs First, on its Web site walmartsubsidywatch.org, Wal-Mart has received "more than $1.2 billion in tax breaks, free land, infrastructure assistance, low-cost financing and outright grants from state and local governments around the country." The total in Illinois is more than $153 million, according to Good Jobs First. Here details the nonprofit provided about the subsidy packages for eight Wal-Mart locations in suburban Cook County.

Bridgeview: The village issued $6.7 million in bonds for improvements in the tax increment financing district, which benefited Wal-Mart as well as other stores and companies.

Country Club Hills: Wal-Mart was awarded a 50% property tax rebate and a 50% sales tax rebate through 2013. Based on local tax estimates, the property tax portion is likely worth $6.25 million and the sales tax portion $6 million.

Evergreen Park: Wal-Mart was awarded a 20-year sales tax rebate, taking effect five years after the store opened. All sales tax revenue above $550,000 will be refunded annually until $5.25 million has been rebated.

Glenwood: The Village of Glenwood is reimbursing Wal-Mart for development costs through tax increment financing. The maximum reimbursement amount is just over $2 million plus 4% interest per year from the date that Wal-Mart incurred the costs until they are repaid (this includes any costs incurred before the redevelopment agreement went into effect).

Niles: The village of Niles extended an existing tax increment financing district to include a new Wal-Mart, designating the property a "blighted improved area." The ordinance did not include an estimate, but a consultant's report calculated that $2.9 million of improvements were needed.

Orland Hills: Wal-Mart will receive $12 million in sales tax rebates to pay for work on the development site. The Supercenter will be replacing an existing store in Orland Hills.

Palatine: Palatine officials agreed to provide property-tax increment financing worth $3.5 million for land acquisition, demolition, and building costs for this new store.

Rolling Meadows: This city gave a $5.3 million sales tax rebate to the developer of a shopping area anchored by a Wal-Mart and Sam's Club. Subsidies were for demolition costs.

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  • 1. They aren't asking for subsidies in Chicago.

    2. The source obviously has an agenda, and there is no mention of the cost benefit calculus (i.e. how much in sales and property taxes Walmart is bringing in, and what the land would have produced if there were no subsidy).

    3. Finally, there is no study of what subsidies were given to other developers, such as the $1 land deals frequently found in Chicago, to get rid of excess CTA property, for example. Tell the whole story or none of it.

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