The Walmart 1 Percent in Washington

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The Walmart 1 Percent’s Influence in Washington Politics

The Walton family in politics

The Waltons contributed $29,429 to candidates for Congress and in state-level races in Washington State from the 1990 election cycle through 2010. All of it went to Republicans. In 2004, John Walton also gave over $1 million to “Approve Referendum 55,” which would have made it possible for charter schools to open in Washington State, despite the fact that he did not live there. Members of the Walton family have been active in the pro-charter, corporate education reform movement.[1]

Walmart in politics

The Walmart PAC spent $156,000 on Congressional candidates from the state over the same time period, with 82% going to Republicans. At the state level, Walmart spent $438,515 on Washington politics between 2003 and 2010, with two-thirds of that going to Republican candidates or party committees and another $40,000 going to 2010’s “Modernize Washington” ballot initiative to privatize state liquor sales.[2]



Walmart’s Impact on Washington’s Employment Picture

Impact of Walmart stores on retail and other jobs

Based on data available through Walmart’s website, there were 18,011 Walmart associates in Washington as of January 31, 2012.

According to a 2006 study, for every retail job created at Walmart, communities lose 1.4 retail jobs.[3] Based on the findings of this study, we estimate that, if Walmart had no stores in Washington, there would be an additional 7,204 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 Washington lost an estimated 4,120 jobs as a result of Walmart’s practice of sourcing heavily from China.[4]



Walmart’s Cost to Washington Taxpayers

Taxpayer subsidies for Walmart

Walmart is the world’s biggest company.[5] But despite its colossal financial resources—the company brought in $444 billion in revenue last year[6]—it’s habitually dipped into public coffers to finance its expansion into almost every corner of the United States.[7] 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 Washington.

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.[8]

In Washington: All three times that data on the employers with the highest number of workers enrolled in taxpayer-funded state healthcare programs have been reported—in February 2003, January 2006, and December 2006—Walmart has topped the list. In December 2006, Walmart had almost 3,200 workers participating in public programs, significantly more the 1,932 workers at second-ranked McDonald’s.[9]



More Walmart stores coming to Washington

Here’s a list of Walmart stores planned or rumored to be opening in Washington:[10]

  • Bellevue: Supercenter, Factoria Mall
  • Bellevue: Neighborhood Market, Kelsey Creek Center
  • Everett: Near Everett Mall
  • Lynnwood: Neighborhood Market, 17222 Highway 99
  • Monroe: Supercenter, Kelsey St. and Hwy. 2
  • Oregon City: Neighborhood Market, Molalla Ave.
  • Salmon Creek: 134th and I-5

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

[4] 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.

[5] As measured by revenue; “Fortune Global 500 2011: The World’s Biggest Companies – Wal-Mart Stores,”

[6] “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,

[7] “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.

[8] “Disclosures of Employers Whose Workers and Their Dependents are Using State Health Insurance Programs,” Good Jobs First report, version dated January 18, 2012.

[9] “Disclosures of Employers Whose Workers and Their Dependents are Using State Health Insurance Programs,” Good Jobs First report, version dated January 18, 2012.

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