Polls of ordinary New Yorkers continue to show year after year support for the right of Walmart to open stores in Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island.
Residents in the other 57 counties in New York State have had the option of shopping or not shopping at Walmart for decades. The same is true for virtually every other city and state. Only New York City is behind the times.
City residents continue to be denied the opportunity to shop at Walmart due to excuses made by elected officials and their union allies. They feel that we should oppose Walmart because of substandard salaries and the unfair competition it would pose smaller stores.
Construction of a new Walmart could provide work for construction contractors and their employees. Once opened, there are employment opportunities for many workers. The city would benefit by millions in sales, payroll and real-estate tax revenue which could help fund essential municipal services everyone desires.
Walmart is the nation’s largest private sector employer with over 1,200,000 employees and growing each year. Starting pay averages several dollars above the minimum wage for new employees around the nation.
Promotional opportunities including training for higher paying managerial positions are common. The company also offers health care and other benefits.
Several hundred-thousand New Yorkers work off the books, full and part time with no benefits. Many existing retailers pay minimum wage with no benefits. These same public officials that oppose Walmart never talk about these abuses.
The free enterprise system made our nation great. Economic growth and the creation of wealth comes from businesses, small and large. Consumers shopping at Walmart get a bigger bang for the buck by being able to compare prices and quality.
Many New Yorkers can’t afford to pay extra. They need the great prices, good quality merchandise, affordable food, drugs and, yes, school supplies that Walmart offers.
It is time to allow Walmart the opportunity to compete in the New York City market. For those “politically correct” among us, don't shop at Walmart, but give everyone else a choice.
Larry Penner is a resident of Great Neck.