Opinion

This town blocked a Walmart --- and it was a victory for economic liberty

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Timothy P. Carney,Minusextra,Walmart

Local governments do tons of stupid and oppressive things to try to keep out Walmart. The D.C. Council, for instance, passed a bill that would have stuck Walmart, and only Walmart, with an extra-high minimum wage.

But in Ellisville, Mo., saying no to Walmart meant saying no to Big Government. The Institute for Justice -- a leading foe of eminent domain abuse -- reports:

A private developer could have received up to $15 million in tax incentives. Even more outrageously, Ellisville could have also authorized eminent domain to acquire property.

To make way for Wal-Mart, an entire apartment complex, Clarkchester Apartments, would have been demolished. That’s 100 homes. If the plan had gone through, 250 residents would have been forced to relocate.

But in October, after intense pressure from both grassroots activists and a new mayor, Wal-Mart announced it had “decided not to proceed” with the Ellisville store.

The city council later followed suit to better protect some of its residents from eminent domain abuse. On December 18, the Ellisville City Council passed a resolution unanimously that curbs the power of eminent domain.

Mayor Alan Paul had this novel idea for Walmart: "If you want to buy and develop property that exists, you can do it on your own dime."

Large retailers always get corporate welfare from towns, cities, counties, and states. Walmart being the largest retailer, gets its fair share. I wrote on a Walmart distribution center in Florida that governments showered with aid.

Paul's tack needs to be considered more: How about towns don't try to block Walmart, and they don't subsidize it, either?

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