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You may save at new Sam’s, but think about what may be lost

Updated: October 5, 2012 6:12AM

You may save at new Sam’s, but think about what may be lost

Well, the new Sam’s Club is officially open and, according to Mike Danahey’s article in Thursday’s Courier-News, Santa has arrived in Elgin — doling out grants, jobs and tax dollars like the jolly red elf they want you to believe they are.

But let’s get down to the reality and the math that Danahey has neglected to consider in his article. He states that “the city is set to reap millions in tax dollars past the opening.” The city’s estimate is $40 million over 15 years, or $2.67 million a year. (This is for the whole site — Walmart, Sam’s and outlots such as Portillo’s).

OK, where did I miss the fact that 50,000 new people just moved into Elgin? Because that’s what it would take to generate these kinds of revenue numbers. If Sam’s and Walmart are going to generate that kind of tax revenue, then all the other businesses around the Elgin area will do $2.67 million less. Just because Sam’s opened doesn’t mean you’re going to buy more groceries and TVs — you’re just going to Sam’s instead of Jewel and Meijer’s and Best Buy, etc. So the net gain to the city is zero.

When the Walmart opened, they had similar articles in the paper, but then Walmart closed the old store, so again no net gain. If Elgin-area small businesses are going to lose millions in sales ($2.67 million in taxes equal $120 million in lost revenue), then those businesses will most likely have to cut back on employees to compensate for the loss of revenue — thus also negating all new Sam’s jobs created. Bet you that the lost jobs pay more than Sam’s. The same argument can be made about their grant money; if you beat down the other businesses in town, they will have to cut back on their community support (Little Leagues, church and school raffles, etc). The impact is huge.

Just because you can save 20 cents on a roll of toilet paper doesn’t mean you should. So please, next time you walk into my shop and have to wait an extra 10 minutes to talk to me and ask for a school fundraiser donation, and I have to turn you down, take a second to consider the money you saved on toilet paper.

Jeffrey Crittenden

South Elgin small business owner and Elgin resident

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