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Why are property taxes too high?

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Fit For Life

ISSUES | Economy

Wal-Mart in Richmond?

Walmart Demo
More than 4,000 union members and community supporters, including many Wal-Mart workers, marched in Los Angeles Saturday. They opposed the chain's bid to bring its tornado of destruction into urban centers. Labor Notes Photo: Slobodan Dimitrov.

Will Wal-Mart sneak into the old Albertson's Super Market,  at Macdonald and San Pablo?

The issue is now before the Planning Commission  which is looking into  issues of  air quality, noise, and traffic for a proposal to put a new supermarket at that location. 
 
The problem is that the proposal is not specifying who would actually occupy the site, and there is good reason to believe that it is Wal-Mart.  Neighbors, local businesses and unions are mounting a campaign to prevent Wal-Mart from locating there,  Despite the undeniable need for more grocery stores in Richmond, Wal-Mart  destroys the surrounding communities when it moves it.  
 
The movement against Wal-Mart is nationwide.  Last week thousands marched in Los Angeles, opposing the chain. 
 
Why so much opposition to a particular store in a community that wants to attract new stores?  Don Gosney recently  put it very well on the Richmond Politics discussion list.  

There are a lot of arguments against a Wal-Mart in any community and only a few arguments for them. 
 There will always be some who think that Wal-Mart is their salvation and they don't know how they ever lived without one.  Who could argue with cheaply priced foreign made products manufactured in sweat shops by prison and child laborers? 
 Others, though, will tell you how Wal-Marts are community killers.  How they undercut virtually every small business-even selling at a loss-until, they've driven these businesses out of business (and then raise their prices back up to a profitable level).  In most communities those mom and pop family owned markets disappear very quickly.  Even Safeway and Lucky stores are at risk. 
 Some will tell you that their anti-union position is contradictory to this community where fair living wages and benefits have become expected for all workers. 
 Some will tell you that their failure to provide usable health care benefits to their workers hurt the community.  When they opened in Hilltop--before they drove most of the smaller shops out of business both inside the mall and surrounding it--they tried to assuage the naysayers by pointing out that they paid $645 per year for a full time employee for health care benefits (about 31¢ per hour) as if this could really provide health care insurance. [They also hand out pamphlets to their workers showing them how to take advantage of taxpayer supplied County health care.] 
 And then there will be those that complain how virtually everything they sell comes from oversees-negating the benefits to American workers who could use a few jobs, too.  They might also mention how these workers are treated overseas and the lack of decent jobsite conditions and worker safety laws.  

 But there will always be some in our community who will welcome any store that offers them what they want for a lower price-no matter what the cost to the community is.

Don Gosney

     

MAKE WALL STREET BANKS PAY: THEY CAUSED THE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE & THEY CONTINUE TO TEAR APART CALIFORNIA'S ECONOMY

Demands on BankCommunity groups, faith based groups, unions and others took action in over 20 cities across the state to hold the big banks accountable for their role in our state's fiscal crisis.

The groups called on all banks to bundle their foreclosed properties and to sell them to the City of Richmond, a community land trust and nonprofit housing developers at a reduced price which subtracts repair costs and developer fees.

In Richmond the groups led by ACCE and CCISCO had a delegation that presented the Chase bank on MacDonald and San Pablo a bill for what the banks owed the people of California.

Speaking at the press conference before making the demand on the bank were Vernell Crittendon, Joanna Vasquez of ACCE, Jose Vega and Anthony Allen form CCISCO, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Millie Cleveland of SEIU, and United Teachers of Richmond member Mary Flanagan.

Mayor McLaughlin

California must make the big banks pay their fair share, beginning with:

  • Passage of AB 2492 which closes loopholes in commercial property tax law so that the banks and private equity firms pay the level of property taxes that they should;

  • Canceling or renegotiating Interest Rate Swaps that are costing cities and other government agencies millions of extra dollars we cannot afford to lose;

  • Stopping avoidable foreclosures - making the banks offer permanent fair loan modifications that include reducing principal to the current market value of the home.

The Big Banks must stop gouging California tax-payers, end the Foreclosure Crisis and start helping fix California's budget crisis by paying their fair share!

See the full report that underlies this campaign for tax reform from the California Tax Reform Association. One chart from the report is below.

Vernell CrittendonJose VegaAnthony Allen
Millie Cleveland Mary Flanagan



For news and pictures of the campaign in the rest of the state see the ACCE web site

Why Are  Property Taxes Too High?
Because corporations don't pay their share.

We keep hearing the trickle-down economic theories: "Make things good for businesses and that will bring us all prosperity."  But three decades of  this policy have only made things worse.  Your proportion of the property tax burden (blue) is going up, while theirs (red) goes way down.   For possible solutions see the above story.  
Tax shift

May 2010 report (click here): System Failure: California's Loophole- Ridden Commercial Property Tax prepared by the California Tax Reform Association (CTRA) , in collaboration with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE)