Walmart makes major contributions to community
Re: "Disdain for Wal-Mart subsidies in Red America town," Feb. 6
Timothy Carney criticized the way a decade-old Walmart distribution center came to fruition and based his findings mostly on interviews with a few bar patrons and information from "a union group critical of Wal-Mart." Since he neglected to report about the impact our facility has had, I thought I'd take the opportunity to set the record straight.
Baker County, with help from state and federal economic development funds, built an industrial park and offered space to Walmart and others as an incentive to attract new jobs and tax revenue. So far, the existence of our distribution center has meant $7.5 million in real estate and personal property taxes paid by Walmart since 2001, and company donations of $40,000 to $60,000 a year to community organizations (most recently, $50,000 to the Baker County Council on Aging).
Today, our Distribution Center employs more than 600 associates, most of whom have been with the company five years or longer. In fact, 34 of our 52 managers started out in hourly positions. Our overall average wage is $19.65 per hour, and our associates have health insurance, a 401(k) program and other benefits.
We are proud of our contributions to the economic vitality of Macclenny and Baker County, and we look forward to being a fixture here for years to come.
-- Bobby Steele
General Manager, Walmart Distribution Center #6099
Planned Parenthood's positions don't match up with the public's
Re: "Planned Parenthood, McAuliffe go after Cuccinelli," Feb. 17
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe did not reject Planned Parenthood's support of his campaign with its website attacking Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and so sank to Planned Parenthood's level. But Planned Parenthood, the world's leading abortionist, killing more than 330,000 babies annually, is very much out of touch with most people on abortion.
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For example, Planned Parenthood aggressively fights to keep sex-selection abortions legal. According to a poll conducted last year by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, 77 percent say that such abortions should be banned. Planned Parenthood lobbies against parental notification laws, which a Gallup poll shows 71 percent support.
Polls show that overwhelming majorities (86 percent in one poll) support women being informed of abortion risks and fetal development; Planned Parenthood lobbies against legislative initiatives requiring that such information be given. In various polls, 83 percent have said abortion should be illegal in the last three months of pregnancy and 71 percent in the second three months; Planned Parenthood objects to such restrictions.
If Mr. Cuccinelli can communicate Planned Parenthood's positions to voters, the group will be an albatross for McAuliffe.
-- Carolyn Naughton