Give everyone a choice

To the editor:
It was disappointing to learn that New York City may only allow mini-Walmarts to open. If Home Depot, Ikea, BJ’s, Costco, Best Buy and Target can open full size box stores, why not Walmart as well? Too many elected officials, including New York City Comptroller Liu, Public Advocate de Blasio, Council Speaker Quinn and many of her Council colleagues are continuing to stand in the way. Walmart coming to NYC and perhaps Downtown Manhattan would provide work for construction contractors, their employees and thousands of the nine percent of New Yorkers currently out of work. The city would benefit by several hundred million dollars in new sales, payroll and real estate tax-generated revenues.

Walmart is the nation’s largest private sector employer with over 1.2 million employees and growing each year. Tens of millions of Americans, including many fellow New Yorkers own stock in Walmart. The same is true for the various retirement and pension plans many people participate in.

The starting pay at Walmart is between several dollars more and double the minimum wage for new employees around the nation. Promotional opportunities including training for higher paying managerial positions are common, and they offer health care and other benefits. Walmart may actually pay higher salaries and offer more benefits than some of their competitors.

Walmart consumers get a better bang for their buck, and many New Yorkers can’t afford to pay extra. They need the great prices, quality merchandise, and the affordable food and drug options that Walmart offers.

Several hundred thousand New Yorkers work off the books, full- and part-time, with no benefits or insurance. Many existing retailers pay minimum wage with no benefits, but public officials who oppose Walmart never talk about these abuses.

Consumers have voted with their feet all over America making Walmart the number one retail merchant success story it is today. Why not allow Walmart the opportunity to compete in the NYC marketplace as well?

For those opposed, don’t shop there, but give everyone else a choice.
Larry Penner