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Target's Tax Subsidies Under Scrutiny After Chicago Living Wage Fight
PSN on August 17, 2006 - 9:56am
Target management apparently didn't get the memo. Faced with stagnating wages and increasing inequality, American workers and taxpayers are waking up to the big box gambit where irresponsible employers subsidize their low wages through favorable tax packages. When Target threatened to stop opening new stores in Chicago if the Windy City gave final approval to its ordinance requiring a living wage for retail workers (see this Dispatch for more details), it opened up a new debate over why cities are offering low-wage retail stores tax subsidies in the first place. As a new report produced by the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group documents, Target received $9.9 million in tax-increment financing (TIF) to subsidize its existing stores in Chicago.
The fight has spilled over to Target's home state, Minnesota, as Good Jobs First details:
Labor and community organizations are putting together a coalition to lobby the state legislature to end tax-increment financing (TIF) for retail projects in Minnesota. Angered by the position of Target Corp. in Chicago, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789 President Don Seaquist said: "Taxpayers can no longer allow TIF to be used by retailers that don't pay a living wage, don't provide health care and aggressively deny their workers a voice at work."
Labor is working with ACORN and TakeAction Minnesota, the latter an organization with a long history of working to pass path-breaking economic subsidy disclosure reforms in Minnesota. If Target is going to resist paying decent wages, activists in Minnesota want reforms to end subsidies for Target or any company that doesn't use public money to promote decent jobs.