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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Target Tries to Defend Efforts to Feed on the Public Trough

Strib in letters:

Target explains request for abatement

In light of Nick Coleman's Nov. 15 column, we feel that your readership deserves to hear the facts and the rationale behind the expansion plans of Target in Brooklyn Park.

Target continues to grow at a rapid pace. This is good news in an era when layoffs and declining corporate performance dominate the headlines. In all, we anticipate a need for several thousand additional team members at our headquarters to support our planned store growth over the next decade. We hope to accommodate that need here in the Twin Cities, though we also have headquarters locations in New York; Tempe, Ariz., and Salt Lake City.

If realized to its fullest potential, this project will provide Hennepin County with a projected additional $300 million in tax income over the next 30 years. Brooklyn Park has agreed to provide this project with an estimated $20 million in tax abatement because the city understands that it is an investment that will yield generous dividends.

We believe Hennepin County shares this vision and understands that only through partnership can a new economic development engine of this magnitude be realized in the Twin Cities metro.

What is lost in Coleman's column is that the proposal includes absolutely no reduction in existing taxes, and thus there is no shifted tax burden for city and county taxpayers to bear. If Target does not build the proposed master plan, there are no new taxes to abate.

Furthermore, the benefit of the abatement would be used to build public infrastructure only. Abatement will not be used to build Target buildings.

The column is also misleading in relation to the types of jobs Target is creating. On average, each of the jobs to be located in Brooklyn Park will pay $50,000 a year, including benefits. Coleman also fails to recognize the reverberating economic impact that Target's investment in the Northern Campus will have on the community and the region. In exchange for the tax abatement, Brooklyn Park will receive $28 million over the next 30 years in new annual tax revenue, plus building fees estimated at $23 million. We will build the infrastructure needed to support this development and will also provide the city, at our expense, a park, space for a police substation, and land for a water tower and a library.

The details surrounding a tax abatement partnership with Hennepin County are being discussed and have yet to be finalized, but the potential benefits of the project to Brooklyn Park, Hennepin County and the entire region are clear and compelling.

JOHN GRIFFITH, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT,

TARGET CORP., MINNEAPOLIS


People should call their city council person and encourage the City of Minneapolis to pass a resolution opposing this. The City gave Target a huge handout. They moved out of Minneapolis to Brooklyn Center. In the process, they also closed their store on Broadway on the Northside.

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