Big-box stores welcome in Durango? How sad it is that our local officials unanimously agreed that the potential payoff in sales-tax revenue which currently is lost to Farmington and Albuquerque is worth the risk.
Big-box retail development creates a drain on municipal budgets; it requires more in public services, such as road maintenance and police, than it generates in tax revenue. On average, retail buildings produce a net annual loss of 44 cents per square foot.
The concept that growth is always good for a community does not seem to correlate with the findings from various fiscal analyses. Durango should not be taken in by the promise of high tax revenue from a new development without also considering the additional costs of providing services.
Another recent study examined financial data from 15 locally owned businesses and compared their impact on the local economy to that of an average SuperTarget store. The study found that only 16 percent of the money spent at a SuperTarget stays in the local economy.
In contrast, the local retailers returned more than 32 percent of their revenue to the local economy. Locally owned businesses require far less land to produce an equivalent amount of economic activity. Durango should work harder at supporting and assisting local businesses, not super retailers.
There are hundreds of studies like these that conclude that big-box stores are not the answer to more tax revenue and actually create more problems for communities than they solve. Havent our leaders read any of them?
Barbara Belanger, Durango