Thursday, June 4, 2015

Two Examples of Suburbs Showing the Way

The Minneapolis suburb Shakopee recently decided not to give a big tax subsidy to, which is planning to build a distribution warehouse in the town. Yay for Shakopee!

Today's Pioneer Press carried a letter from local business owner Dan Marshall, who congratulated Shakopee on its decision:

'Projects they subsidize'

As a local business owner, I was very pleased to hear that the city of Shakopee and the state of Minnesota will not be giving tax subsidies to to open a distribution center. Given the fact that Wisconsin recently paid it more than $20 million to open a warehouse in Kenosha, this is a remarkable achievement.

Hopefully, this will prove to cities and states all over the country that, despite its claims to the contrary, Amazon does not require taxpayer subsidies to build a warehouse. Indeed, Amazon is a fierce and efficient competitor that has a net negative effect on jobs. According to a study by the Institute for Local Self Reliance, Amazon destroys seven retail jobs for every two that it creates. The venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, an early backer of, estimates that "Amazon probably destroyed a million jobs in our economy" since its inception.

I'm proud to be one of more than 300 members of the Metro Independent Business Alliance, the only local business group that lobbied against giving taxpayer dollars to Amazon in Shakopee. As Amazon seeks to establish more distribution centers throughout the Twin Cities, our local governments should be thoughtful about the quality of projects they subsidize with their limited resources. Huge multinational job-killers like Amazon just don't fit the bill.
Marshall's Peapods toy store is one of the highlights of Twin Cities retail.

Another bit of good news from a Twin Cities surburb: Bloomington's city council has voted to consolidate trash hauling, setting area-based contracts with seven haulers. Currently, over a dozen haulers cover the entire city, contracting directly with individuals, which results in multiple trucks thundering down the streets and alleys every week.

Maybe Saint Paul's city council can get a spine and follow Bloomington's example.

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