The Walmart 1 Percent in South Dakota
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The Walmart 1 Percent’s Influence in South Dakota Politics
The Walton family in politics
The Waltons contributed $22,500 to candidates for Congress from South Dakota between the 1990 election cycle and 2010. All of that went to the Senate campaigns of Republican John Thune.
Walmart in politics
The Walmart PAC spent $61,000 on Congressional candidates from South Dakota over the same time period, with about two-thirds of that going to Republicans. At the state level, Walmart spent no money on candidates or party committees between 2003 and 2010, but it did give $25,000 to the No on E Coalition in 2006, in opposition to a ballot initiative that would have created “a ‘Special Grand Jury’ to hear cases of alleged judicial misconduct.”
Walmart’s Impact on South Dakota’s Employment Picture
Impact of Walmart stores on retail and other jobs
Based on data available through Walmart’s website, there were 4,720 Walmart associates in South Dakota as of January 31, 2012.
According to a 2006 study, for every retail job created at Walmart, communities lose 1.4 retail jobs. Based on the findings of this study, we estimate that, if Walmart had no stores in South Dakota, there would be an additional 1,888 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 South Dakota lost an estimated 484 jobs as a result of Walmart’s practice of sourcing heavily from China.
Walmart’s Cost to South Dakota Taxpayers
Taxpayer subsidies for Walmart
Walmart is the world’s biggest company. But despite its colossal financial resources—the company brought in $444 billion in revenue last year—it’s habitually dipped into public coffers to finance its expansion into almost every corner of the United States. 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 South Dakota:
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. South Dakota has not disclosed data.
More Walmart stores coming to South Dakota
Here’s a list of Walmart stores planned or rumored to be opening in South Dakota:
- Sioux Falls: Supercenter, 69th St. and Cliff Ave.
 The Effects of Wal-Mart on Local Labor Markets. December, 2006. David Neumark, Junfu Zhang, Stephen Ciccarella.
 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.
 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
 “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=
 “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
 “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.
 Information on planned or rumored stores collected by Making Change at Walmart.