The Walmart 1 Percent in Alabama

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The Walmart 1 Percent’s Influence in Alabama Politics

The Walton family in politics

In Alabama, Walton family member (and Walmart director) Jim Walton and his wife Lynne have given $6,600 to candidates from the state—all Republicans—in Congressional elections.

The Waltons’ political contributions in Alabama went exclusively to Republicans from 1990-2010:

 

  Republicans
House $2,000
Senate $4,600
Alabama TOTAL $6,600

Source: Analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in State Politics

Walmart in politics

As Walmart continues to try to grow its retail empire, the company’s PAC gave $180,500 to candidates for Congress from Alabama between 1990 and 2010. Seventy percent of it went to Republicans. Walmart’s PAC has also given almost $82,000 in state races since 2005, including $24,500 to the Alabama Republican Party.[1]

 

 

Walmart’s Impact on Alabama’s Employment Picture

Impact of Walmart stores on retail and other jobs

Based on data available through Walmart’s website, there were 35,709 Walmart associates in Alabama as of January 31, 2012.

According to a 2006 study, for every retail job created at Walmart, communities lose 1.4 retail jobs.[2] Based on the findings of this study, we estimate that, if Walmart had no stores in Alabama, there would be an additional 14,284 retail jobs in the state.

Impact of Walmart’s China sourcing on jobs

Based on an estimate of Walmart’s share of the U.S.-China trade deficit, we can estimate that Alabama lost an estimated 3,655 jobs as a result of Walmart’s practice of sourcing heavily from China.[3]

 

 

Walmart’s Cost to Alabama Taxpayers

Taxpayer subsidies for Walmart

Walmart is the world’s biggest company.[4] But despite its colossal financial resources—the company brought in $444 billion in revenue last year[5]—it’s habitually dipped into public coffers to finance its expansion into almost every corner of the United States.[6] In the absence of centralized information or databases on economic subsidies, Good Jobs First, an economic policy and research non-profit, has done extensive research to document the subsidies Walmart has received, and has published the data on Walmart Subsidy Watch. Here’s what GJF uncovered in Alabama.

Taxpayer healthcare costs

Tens of thousands of Walmart associates and their families qualify for Medicaid and other publicly subsidized care. Indeed, according to data compiled by Good Jobs First, in 22 of 24 states which have disclosed information, Walmart has the largest number of employees or dependents on the public rolls of any employer.[7]

In Alabama: According to data from the Alabama Medicaid Agency, as of April 2005, Walmart topped the list of companies whose employees’ children were enrolled in Medicaid. Walmart associates had 4,700 children in the program; the employer with the second-highest number, McDonald’s, had less than half that figure at 1,931.[8]

 

 

More Walmart stores coming to Alabama

Here’s a list of Walmart stores planned or rumored to be opening in Alabama:[9]

  • Huntsville: Supercenter, U.S. Rt. 72 near the Limestone County line
  • Florence: Supercenter, SR 157 on the site of historic Coffee Cemetery

 


[2] The Effects of Wal-Mart on Local Labor Markets. December, 2006. David Neumark, Junfu Zhang, Stephen Ciccarella.

[3] These numbers are estimates.   To arrive at these estimates, we used the report by the Economic Policy Institute that estimated U.S. jobs lost to China by state from 2001-2008.    We then multiplied that number by 9.3%, which is the proportion of the overall U.S.-China trade deficit that EPI estimated to be tied to Walmart. We arrived at that number from this study.

[4] As measured by revenue; “Fortune Global 500 2011: The World’s Biggest Companies – Wal-Mart Stores,” http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/2011/snapshots/2255.html

[5] “Walmart reports Q4 EPS from continuing operations of $1.51; Walmart U.S. delivers positive traffic and positive comp sales in Q4,” press release dated February 21, 2012, http://investors.walmartstores.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=112761&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1663026&highlight=

[6] “Shopping for Subsidies: How Wal-Mart Uses Taxpayer Money to Finance Its Never-Ending Growth,” by Philip Mattera and Anna Purinton, Good Jobs First, May 2004.  http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/sites/default/files/docs/pdf/wmtstudy.pdf

[7] “Disclosures of Employers Whose Workers and Their Dependents are Using State Health Insurance Programs,” Good Jobs First report, version dated January 18, 2012.  http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/corporate-subsidy-watch/hidden-taxpayer-costs.

[8] “Disclosures of Employers Whose Workers and Their Dependents are Using State Health Insurance Programs,” Good Jobs First report, version dated January 18, 2012.  http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/corporate-subsidy-watch/hidden-taxpayer-costs.

[9] Information on planned or rumored stores collected by Making Change at Walmart.