To the editor:
The editorial “Poor example” (Jan. 13) asserts that the city is difficult for new business. The evidence offered is the denial of the rezoning sought by Lowe’s, which is claimed to cost the city 120 jobs and new sales taxes. This is not correct. The number of retails jobs is not a function of the number of stores. Rather, it is a function of the amount of retail spending which depends upon the income of the population. Adding new stores does not add income; it simply relocates that spending from old stores to the new ones, with no net gain in jobs.
The same is true for sales taxes. The vendors do not pay the sales taxes; the shoppers pay the taxes. Adding a Lowe’s would not add spending to the community; it would only relocate it from other vendors with no net gain in sales taxes.
The editorial claims that the city confronts a problem because of citizens who are opposed to growth. Growth of what? Too often, the proponents of growth use the term to mean growth in real estate. When developers build housing faster than population growth, older neighborhoods suffer. When developers build retail space faster than the growth in retail spending, older shopping centers suffer. When this happens, politically influential developers gain at the taxpayers’ expense.
What we need is growth in wages. This raises our standard of living. This is the growth we should pursue, not the growth of real estate beyond our needs.