In a revealing video about the Internet access problem in rural Minnesota, Annandale City Administrator Kelly Hinnenkamp describes her town’s struggle with connectivity. The video is the latest in a series on the Minnesota Senate DFL YouTube page intended to shed light on the critical situation in the state. Hinnenkamp describes broadband in the areas outside … Read More
Kansas is the latest legislative battle ground in the fight to preserve local self-reliance. The Kansas Legislature is taking up SB 304 to limit local municipalities’ authority to invest in publicly owned networks. While the language of the bill states the purpose is to “encourage widespread use of technological advances” for video and broadband at competitive … Read More
Tuesday’s elections demonstrated that limiting the ability of corporations to bankroll local ballot initiatives is a crucial step in stopping the proliferation of big-box stores.
Target and Wal-Mart poured money into two campaigns to overturn store size cap laws in communities in California and Montana. They won by very narrow margins in both cases, despite having outspent grassroots groups that supported the caps by as much as 10-to-1.
But money doesn’t always win. Lowe’s lost a bid to build in another California town.
In May, Vermont became the seventeenth state in the nation to close a loophole that major chain retailers are using to evade paying state income taxes. The loophole allows multi-state corporations to shift income made at stores in Vermont to subsidiaries in low- or no-tax states like Delaware and Nevada. Income shifted in this manner, although earned in Vermont, is not subject to the state’s corporate income tax.… Read More
"We may look back and think this is one of the most important things we’ve done," said Bristol, Rhode Island, Town Councilor Halsey Herreshoff after the council unanimously passed a formula business ordinance in May. Bristol is a community of 23,000 people about half an hour southeast of Providence. The ordinance bars formula businesses larger than 2,500 square feet or that take up more than 65 feet of street frontage from locating in Bristol’s historic downtown.… Read More
After three years of debate and a voter referendum that demonstrated strong opposition to sprawling shopping centers, Carbondale, Colorado, has enacted an ordinance that requires the town’s planning staff and Board of Trustees to weigh the community and fiscal impacts of a large-scale retail proposal before deciding whether to approve or deny the project. The ordinance applies to any retail development larger than 15,000 square feet in neighborhood business districts or larger than 30,000 square feet elsewhere.… Read More
A California Appeals Court has upheld a local ordinance restricting the proliferation of formula retail businesses in Coronado, a city of 24,000 people near San Diego. The court ruled that the ordinance does not violate the US Constitution’s commerce and equal protection clauses, and is a valid use of municipal authority under California state law. The ordinance, enacted in December 2000, requires anyone seeking to open a formula retail business to obtain a special permit. … Read More
Malaysia has placed a five-year ban on the construction of hypermarkets in Klang Valley, which includes Kuala Lumpur, and the states of Johor and Penang. New guidelines also lengthen the approval time for developers seeking to build hypermarkets in other areas from four months to two years.
Hypermarkets are stores larger than 8,000 square meters (86,000 square feet) that sell both department store merchandise and groceries, similar to Wal-Mart supercenters.… Read More
In April, the Montana legislature narrowly defeated a bill to levy a tax on the revenue of big box retailers. Supported by most Democrats and a handful of Republicans, the legislation would have imposed a 1 percent tax on the revenue of retailers with more than $20 million in annual sales, a 1.5 percent tax on those with more than $30 million in sales, and a 2 percent tax on those with over $40 million.… Read More