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Tax Day: Where’s Walmart?

Union workers and community groups plan a Tax Day rally to highlight tax loopholes for Walmart tomorrow (Thursday, April 15) at 5 p.m. at the U.S. Post Office at Canal and Harrison.

Walmart employees on Medicaid rolls in Illinois cost the state over $2 million a year, said Kristen Ryan of UFCW Local 881.  Walmart is the largest company on the state’s list of employers with 50 or more employees receiving Medicaid.

In 2006 the Chicago Tribune reported that 1,132 Walmart employees received Medicaid in Illinois, costing the state $2.5 million a year.

Only half of Walmart’s employees qualify for or can afford the health insurance offered by the company; critics say high premiums and high deductibles make it unaffordable for many employees.  And in addition to long waiting periods to qualify, work schedules with reduced hours often prevent Walmart employees from qualifying.

In 2004 a report by staff of  the U.S. House Committee on Education (pdf) estimated that a single Walmart store with 200 employees costs taxpayers over $400,000 a year in federal public assistance programs.

Ryan also cited large sales and property tax rebates associated with Walmart developments.  As Newstips reported in 2007 and 2008, Illinois leads the nation by a wide margin in public subsidies for Walmart, with Good Jobs First identifying $153 million in state and local subsidies — including $41 million in sales tax rebates at 11 Illinois Walmart stores between 1998 and 2008.

“With the state’s budget crisis, that money could be put to good use for actual services for Illinois taxpayers,” said Ryan.

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Category: labor, state budget, taxes, Wal-Mart

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