For months, we have chosen to use hard facts, statistical evidence and common sense — instead of idle threats — to educate the D.C. Council about the negative consequences of the LRAA.
Our stance has been echoed by The Post’s editorial board, residents, small business owners and groups such as the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the National Retail Federation, the D.C. Building Industry Association, the International Council of Shopping Centers, the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.
Unfortunately, this diverse chorus of opposition to the LRAA has fallen on deaf ears among council members, and the final reading of the proposal is scheduled for Wednesday.
Like any business, we have a responsibility to our customers, employees and shareholders to reevaluate our options when it looks as if local rules may significantly change. The LRAA would clearly inject unforeseen costs into the equation that would create an uneven playing field and challenge the fiscal health of our planned D.C. stores.
As a result, Wal-Mart will not pursue stores at Skyland, Capitol Gateway or New York Avenue if the LRAA is passed. What’s more, passage would also jeopardize the three stores already under construction, as we would thoroughly review the financial and legal implications of the bill on those projects.
This was a difficult decision and one we arrived at after considerable contemplation.
There is no question that Wal-Mart has surpassed the community-relations efforts of other retailers seeking to come to Washington. In response, some members of the council are fast-tracking a game-changing piece of legislation that challenges our ability to deliver.
While we will continue to engage with the council leading up to Wednesday’s vote, we urge Mayor Gray to veto this discriminatory legislation, as it runs counter to every economic development platform that his administration has identified as a priority for Washington.