Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, October 03, 2005

WOW watch us grow - no thanks to PARD

Since this is my first post I would like to thank Tom for offering me this chance to post my thoughts; THANKS Tom. I was very flattered that he would even ask; I hope I don’t disappoint him or you. I don’t like people that waste my time so I will attempt not to waste yours.

The subject that has us going of late is Wal-Mart. Will it be good or bad for Pullman? Tom has pointed out very well that it is not only the tax base of the city that will improve (and boy does it need to improve), but the one thing that he has said needs to be repeated. That is there will be other businesses show up around Wal-Mart due to the extra traffic that it will draw. The one thing that the Marxist / Leftists have trouble understanding about capitalism is that it takes customers with money and places to spend that money to make a community grow. Well, since we are still coming out of the repression, (if you could call it that) we have lived under here in the businesses community. We are already seeing new businesses building up around where Wal-Mart will be located. I see Zeppo’s is adding a lot more floor space to see there business grow. Next to the “New” movie theaters is a “New” restaurant being build. On down the hill is something else that is in the works. All of this and Wal-Mart has yet to break ground, no thanks to PARD.

I for one want to thank the city council for there making this growth for our community possible.

Now one thing that would be nice as this growth happens, and I am sure there will be more in the area, would be if the city would fix Bishop Boulevard the curve down by the theaters and physical therapy. The super of the road tilts out and you have to hang on for dear life when you go around the corner.

13 comments:

pullmangrown said...

I'm glad Tommy has a friend. I have been reading this site form some time now and I've come to the conclusion that you don't really understand growth – smart growth. I started reading this thinking Wal-Mart would increase the tax base and will be great for Pullman. I was wrong and so are you. I have been here for sometime, and this community needs businesses that will really contribute to the tax base of Pullman, not Arkansas.

Now that there will be one in Lewiston, according the last week’s Tribune, those shoppers we had thought would come here wont. More important though is the fact that the majority of the tax base in Pullman comes from housing, not business. Yes, people need job to buy a house, but you can't afford one on $7.35 an hour - anywhere, including Pullman.

Wal-Mart will be BAD for Pullman. Just think of the taxes that could be raised if they turned that land into affordable housing or smaller businesses space or even a technology park where tech companies can come in and take advantage of all the new things being developed at WSU, like Sweitzer (sp) does. How many more houses would be bought then?? How many more jobs would there be where people can pay for housing and their families. I have works for minimum wage, and you survive on it not thrive. You can barely pay rent and food.

I want to see Pullman thrive like you do. Bishop is developing WITHOUT a Wal-Mart there, just like you said. Why would we want something that is not really going to help us. It’s not creating a reason to come to Pullman. It’s just going to take up space. Sorry guys, but supporting this thing is a bad idea, not because Wal-Mart is bad, but because there are too many more profitable businesses out there that would really help our community if they were in that space. The good of the project just doesn’t outweigh the bad.

Oh, and my kids go to the schools there and the increased potential for them to get hit by a car and killed is also a huge negative in my book- but dead kids is a personal issue not a community one.

Tom Forbes said...

Great post Ray!

We must be doing something right, as the PARD trolls are starting to come out!

Cheryl Keeton said...

Tom has numerous friends regarding this issue, including many local business owners, city government officials and WSU faculty and staff members. You can't judge by the number of posts on this board just how deep the support is. I personally have contacted Tom many times offline, and I know of many others that have as well. You're the one with the minority viewpoint here.

The Pullman City Council has made it a priority goal to increase the retail sales tax base. You obviously need to do your research before posting because most everyone in town knows that the land on Bishop has been zoned for over twenty years for commercial business, not for housing or industrial purposes. Your proposal for homes and small business space at that location is absurd!!

As far as Lewiston residents go, who cares where they shop?! The goal here is to have Pullman residents shop in Pullman, not in Moscow and Lewiston. Having a Wal-Mart will not only provide Pullman residents with an affordable place to shop, it will attract additional retail to the area. That will definitely help support further growth.

Do your kids currently cross Bishop to attend school? No, I didn't think so. Again, if you had only done your research, you would realize that Wal-Mart will be funding necessary traffic revisions to keep the residential areas around Lincoln and Franklin schools safe.

go hounds said...

pullmangrown- I work closely with PSD administration and I can tell you there will not be any "dead kids" associated with Wal-Mart coming to town. Traffic studies have been completed and appropriate measures were incorporated into the city site plan approval. Thank you Tom, ray, and others for your comments. I really enjoy this blog!

Ray Lindquist said...

I said ....Zeppo’s is adding a lot more floor space to see there business grow. Next to the “New” movie theaters is a “New” restaurant being build. On down the hill is something else that is in the works. All of this and Wal-Mart has yet to break ground, no thanks to PARD....
I should of added that these businesses STARTED AFTER Wal-Mart made there plans know to us.
Then I would like to know maybe you help me on this how a business gets tax dollars out of the state without it going to Olympia or Colfax?? Can you help me with that one I bet some law is being broken and we need to bust those that are guilty.

April E. Coggins said...

Wal-Mart will be paying Whitman County property taxes, just like the rest of us. Wal-Mart will be collecting and paying Washington sales tax, just like the rest of the businesses in Pullman. They will have to pay Washington's unemployment and State industrial taxes, too. They are also allowed to pay the minimum wage and give raises to their employees when they see fit. Wal-Mart operates under the same laws as every other company in our state.

Just about everyone has worked for minimum wage at sometime in their life. The large majority either advance with the company or change jobs to make more money. Wal-Mart is not slavery, they can't force anyone to work for their company nor can they force anyone to stay. And yet, their employee retention pretty high. Why is that?

Ray is correct, the retail business expansion on Bishop Blvd. is BECAUSE Wal-Mart is coming in, not inspite of it. Just look at how many lots on Bishop sat unsold for years. (Over twenty years)
Now that Wal-Mart is coming, they have all been snapped up. Some of the sales are specifically contingent on Wal-Mart building a store.

I won't even address the "dead kids" comments. That's just the sort of hysterical nonsense that
PARD likes to throw into a losing arguement. As if the people who support Wal-Mart coming to Pullman also support more dead kids.

April E. Coggins said...

Oh, and another thing. Under our current situation, the tax benefits of high paying jobs is just a myth. Washington does not have an income tax, therefore we have no way of taxing highly paid Washington workers who choose to live and/or shop out of town.

Pullman Chamber Guy said...

Wal-Mart will contribute to the tax base of Pullman. The state levies a 7.6% tax (soon to be 7.7%) on all goods sold, except food. .85 of that stays in Pullman, .15 goes to Whitman County, .1 will now go to the jail, the rest goes to Olympia. If the average Supercenter sells $80 million a year, Pullman could stand to gain $680,000 a year.

Wal-Mart also has to pay utility taxes and B&O taxes. If they make a profit, it goes to Arkansas, or wherever. But that is no different than Safeway, ShopKo, Dissmores, Rite Aid, Barnes & Noble, or Les Schwab. All those stores' profits leave town as well. There is a wrong conception about the role of "mom-and-pop" stores in Pullman. If all the chain stores left Pullman tomorrow, you would have a hard time even buying a gallon of milk.

I don't think Lewiston shoppers were ever in the equation. They already have a Wal-Mart, ShopKo, K-Mart, Home Depot, and Costco in Clarkston. The goal has always been to keep Pullman shoppers in
Pullman.

Yes, the majority of the tax base in Pullman come from property taxes, as any homeowner will tell you. That's our problem. We are already taxed very highly. The council is reluctant to get any more revenue off the backs of homeowners, plus I-747 limits how much they can increase property
taxes anyway. The revenue from property and sales taxes needs to be brought into balance (33% property tax versus 25% sales tax.)

The Pullman real estate market is booming. Homes values are at an all-time high. New home construction is on a record pace. However, sales tax collections are down 11% over last year as there are no major construction projects going on, a major source of sales tax revenue. In fact, the city is on a pace to have no reserve funds left in less than 3 years.

No one works retail to buy a home unless they are in management. Retail is not a career, it's a job, unless you want to start paying $20 a box for Q-Tips.

The land is already zoned C-3 commercial, so talk about residential or light industrial is irrelevant. The city's comprehensive plan calls for
Pullman to be self-sufficient with regards to retail needs and Bishop was designed as the place for that to happen. New homes or a technology park with high-paying jobs there still wouldn't solve our sales tax leakage problem, as April points out, because of the lack of a state income tax. The homeowners would still have to go to Moscow to shop and the businesses would have to go elsewhere to purchase office supplies.

New jobs are no good if that money is spent in another state. New retail stores and high-tech companies are not exactly knocking the door down to come to Pullman. Retail stores look at our college-age demographics and shudder. High-tech companies are going to think twice about opening here if there are no places for their employees to shop or restaurants at which to eat. When Wal-Mart comes, all that will change.

I agree the reason Bishop is developing so much is because Wal-Mart is coming. Look at the retail and restaurants that have opened around the one in Moscow.

Many people have missed the essential point about Wal-Mart. There is no vote on Wal-Mart. The land is zoned for the purpose they are proposing, and if they pass the regulatory requirements, then they will be alowed to open. There is no debate on whether other businesses might be "more profitable" or "would help the community more."

However, the Pullman Chamber of Commerce, the City Council, and local Pullman merchants all believe, for the most part, that Wal-Mart will be good for Pullman.

Mark Workman would not have approved the site plan if he felt school children were going to be in any danger. Franklin Elementary is located at the end of a cul-de-sac. Very few people should drive by Lincoln Middle to get to Wal-Mart and traffic calming
measures will be taken to discourage that. The Pullman School District administration has no concerns about this.

I'm curious how your suggestion of putting in a large housing development or technology park would make the traffic any safer than Wal-Mart.

Tom Forbes said...

Good point about the downtown misconceptions. Did you see the letter to the editor yesterday about losing "our downtown friends and neighbors"? People just don't get it. The biggest impacts are going to be to Safeway and Dissmores, national chain stores that are not located downtown. Who cares?

Those downtown "friends and neighbors" are already struggling because their customers are driving over to Moscow to shop for school supplies, groceries, and clothes, all things downtown stores don't offer for the most part. Downtown stores cover niche items. Wal-Mart will mostly offer items not widely available in Pullman. The letter writer yesterday argued against himself by bringing up "diversity". Wal-Mart is what will give us that retail diversity.

Sarcastic Housewife #1 said...

These arguments are circular at best and damaging at worst. It definitely is the way misconceptions happen. For one, I'm excited to see what will follow Wal-Mart to Pullman.

April E. Coggins said...

Wal-Mart is a publicly traded company. Their profit means more dividends to their shareholders. There are many Americans who share in the profit of a successful Wal-Mart.

Meanwhile, I know of no one who shares in the profit of PARD or their anti-free enterprise breathren. It's odd that ultra liberals are defending other CORPORATIONS who don't want to compete with Wal-Mart. Safeway, Shopko, Dissmores, Rite-Aid are not "mom and pop" shops.

Ray Lindquist said...

April as Tom said in the past I think it is that those places you mention are UNION shops are they not?

WSUStretch said...

Just a Thursday am fun thought...

I wonder how many PARD members have made sure their TIAA/CREF portfolios don't contain Wal-Mart

:-)