The Wal-Mart Tax

Figuring out how to deal with the growth of Wal-Mart — and all the negative side-effects of that growth — is a perplexing challenge. But at least one state legislator in America has an innovative idea about how to start.

State Sen. Ken Toole of my new hometown of Helena, Montana has introduced a bill that would impose a gross proceeds tax on “big box stores” like Wal-Mart. The tax, however, would only kick in if these stores did not pay their employees an entry level wage of at least $22,000 a year, counting both pay and benefits.

How does the bill make sure only to hit “big box stores” and not small business? It only applies to a store’s annual gross receipts over $20 million.

It’s an innovative idea, especially when you consider that under the current system, Wal-Mart’s wages are so low its workers often have to collect welfare benefits. In other words, Montana taxpayers are being forced to subsidize Wal-Mart’s mistreatment of its own employees. Under this proposal, if Wal-Mart continued its abusive behavior, the company would be forced to pay for its mess.