Ellie Kinnaird’s recent column on big-box stores generated 35 comments on my Facebook page last week.
In the column, Kinnaird, a Costco fan, says Orange County can’t afford to keep sending its shopping dollars and sales tax revenue across the county line. (Note: Kinnaird also did a commentary on WCHL last week in which she said she felt so bad about buying a $20 coat at Wal-Mart recently that she donated money to local charity to ease her conscience.)
Here’s what some readers said.
Terri Tyson: I totally agree with Ellie Kinnaird's latest editorial! And the high taxes hurt all of us, not just low-income people. I hope we are pleased with ourselves. Chapel Hill's last department store, Dillard’s, is now leaving.
Brian Thornburg: Ellie nails it. We need a balance and right now we don't. Costco treats their workers well and are to be admired among the possible retailers who could come here. They would bring some good paying jobs and add to the tax base. Win/win. No brainer.
Chris Weaver (former candidate for Orange County commissioner): She’s gone conservative? Sounds like she took many pages from my campaign. A bit funny seeing as she led the progressive moment in OC that resulted in this mentality. Better late than never I suppose, or perhaps she has been studying China.
Jackie Helvey: I'm with Ellie on this one. There are other choices than Wal-Mart. Orange County standing idle while right across the county lines they get OUR tax dollars (we all have to shop somewhere); makes no sense.
Matt Hughes: Chris you're far off base. Ellie and plenty of other elected officials have been saying this for years. It's not being “conservative”; it's just being smart by relying on a diverse set of revenue streams for local government, especially since the state is shouldering more human services and education spending on local governments to figure out.
Terri Buckner: Local governments need to develop sustainable economic development plans which include a predefined mix of office, retail, commercial and residential. Then they should base their budgets on that mix.
Suzanne Haff: Where were all of you when the decision was made to snub New Hope Commons and encourage Lowes and Borders?
Bronwyn Merritt: But don't complain about Wal-Mart and shop there. Some 10-year-old Indian girl probably sewed that coat.
Vicki Vars Boyer: Our community would benefit from a CostCo, and yes, at Obey Creek. It would give commuters from Chatham an opportunity to drop their spending dollars on the way home from work. As a community, we talk a lot about making sure all economic levels can live in our community, but we only seem to want jobs that favor the upper income levels. We need jobs at all levels of the pay scale if we are to keep residents of all income levels living in our community.
Lorenz Hintz: FYI: There is a Wal-Mart in the county seat of Orange County.
Mark Marcoplos: There is a lack of quality information about what basic necessities can be purchased from local businesses. In the absence of that info, assumptions are made and big boxes are considered more valuable than they actually are.
Damon Seils: Bronwyn, the 10-year-old girl who sewed the coat at Walmart also sewed the coat at Costco.
Mark Schultz is the editor of The Chapel Hill News. Contact him at 932-2003 or firstname.lastname@example.org