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Letter: Walmart questions

In addition to getting the facts before making a decision about a big box store, as the header on Lynn Waldron’s excellent letter in the May 30 Recorder states, I suggest that proponents of Walmart let the public know of their answers to these few questions:

∎ What cost to others am I willing to inflict so you don’t have to drive elsewhere to buy discount merchandise? “Others” includes the near-slave labor used by Walmart and similar discount retailers in countries like Bangledesh to manufacture their discount merchandise. “Others” include present employees at Stop & Shop and other retail employees in Greenfield who may well lose their jobs if the nation’s largest grocer sets up shop on the outskirts of town causing other food markets to close.

∎ “We need to get a big box store here in Greenfield to create new jobs” was a quote in a Recorder front-page story on June 6. Are we to ignore Joanne Bernot’s letter in the same paper revealing that Walmart’s salary “strategy” is to pay its “associates” so poorly that many of these working poor must depend on public assistance to simply get by? A year ago February, in The Recorder, I wrote that a major study in Massachusetts found that 42 percent of Walmart workers in the Bay State at that time were using publicly subsidized care at a cost to Massachusetts of $1,753 per associate. We, the taxpayers, would be contributing to Walmart’s bottom line under the guise of “job creation.”

∎ Can anyone say how much in taxes Walmart would pay to Greenfield? And how much in taxes the town would lose from stores that may be forced to close?

∎ Can anyone explain how locating America’s largest retailer out of town will help to revitalize downtown Greenfield, a major goal of the new sustainable master plan?

JOHN BOS

Shelburne Falls

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