Third Party & Independents Archives

The Tax Man Cometh

In this era of shrinking budgets states are looking for more and more innovative ways to make ends meet. A fine example of this is the very very conservative state of Montana. The legislature is considering a very controversial new tax on “big box” stores like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Costco, and the like. The tax would amount to 1% on gross retail receipts between $10 million and $20 million, an additional 0.5% on the next $10 million, and an additional 0.5% on everything over that. When a similar measure was proposed in 2003, it was defeated by a mere 2 votes.

There is also a carrot to complement the stick of this tax proposal. Big box stores which have fewer than 25% of their workers as part time and which pay entry level employees at least $22,000 per year, including benefits, may be exempt. This is a fairly low bar to pass. The rationale behind the exemption is that research shows that large employers who pay sub-poverty wages are actually a drain on the local economy rather than a contributor.

Is this an effective approach to dealing with state budgets under increasing pressure and decreasing federal support? What other measures do you know of that have been seriously proposed?

Posted by rev_matt_y at February 8, 2005 2:57 PM