Challenges for independent local businesses include one-way streets and Big Box tax evasion.

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Break the chains, build local power.

On the eve of another monthly merchant meeting (Tuesday morning, 8:30 a.m., Cafe 157 at the corner of Main and Bank), here’s a look back at a discussion starter from February.

Thursday Must Read Part 1: Upsides and downsides in a national independent business survey.

 … Public policy challenges, eh?

In New Albany, one virulent 800-lb public policy gorilla is downtown’s one-way street grid, which study after study has proven to be harmful to the interests of small, local, independently-owned businesses.

And yet, more than a few business owners in New Albany either don’t wish to “rock” the boat, or worse, to take the time to understand the issues involved.

Think about it: If one-way streets hurt businesses like yours, then they do so 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Conversely, reversion to two-way would help your business — 24 hours a day, every day of the year. You’re fighting a battle with one arm tied behind your back — by the city itself. The fact that the likes of Bob Caesar lobbies against reform should be the clearest possible indication that reform is both correct and necessary.

In addition, coming on the heels of today’s previous post (“The dirty little secret of big box development – and it’s really not a secret – is that the buildings are designed to be abandoned”), here’s another look at the big-box tail wagging the dog.

For Cities, Big-Box Stores Are Becoming Even More of a Terrible Deal, by Olivia LaVecchia (Institute for Local Self-Reliance)

Big-box retailers’ new tactic to slash their taxes is the latest example of why cities are better off saying no to the boxes and cultivating Main Streets instead.

… Marquette has been hit hard by a tactic that the country’s biggest retailers are using to slash their property taxes. Known as the “dark store” method, it exemplifies the systematic way that these chains extract money from local governments. It’s also the latest example of the way that, even as local governments across the country continue to bend over backwards to attract and accommodate big-box development, these stores are consistently a terrible deal for the towns and cities where they locate.

Because … without principles and a system of values prefacing independent small business ownership, why work so damned hard?

Shouldn’t local government be helping, not pushing back?

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