Big Box Stores Think Their Tax Bills Should Be Lower. Are They Right?


We’re back with the second episode of Upzoned, a new podcast from Strong Towns! Episodes of Upzoned will be released on Fridays. Upzoned joins It’s the Little Things on Wednesdays, and the Strong Towns Podcast on Mondays, as we triple our volume of podcast content to bring you more incisive, in-depth, thoughtful analysis on everything about the way our world is built.

Of course, bringing you that analysis is something that can take a little time. But sometimes, a hot new story will cross our desks that we need to talk about right away. That's where Upzoned comes in. Join Kea Wilson, Chuck Marohn, and occasional surprise guests to talk in depth about just one big story from the week in the Strong Towns conversation, right when you want it: now.

On this episode of Upzoned, Kea and Chuck dig deep into this article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which takes on a troubling trend: big box retailers in Minnesota think they’re paying too much in property taxes, and they’re asking for a cut. But that’s a hard pill to swallow for small towns across the state that are already over-reliant on their local Walmart or Menards to survive—and are often devastated when the stores go dark.

Are the big box stores right that they’re overvalued—literally and figuratively—by the towns that let them set up shop? Why can’t we build Strong Towns just by raising taxes on the big players and not changing a thing about the way we build? And what will the continued wave of Big Box closures mean for rural America?

And in the Downzone, Chuck and Kea talk about the books they’re reading lately: Bob Woodward’s non-fiction expedition inside the Trump White House, Fear, and science fiction author Margaret Atwood’s 2008 non-fiction exploration of our historical relationship to debt across religions, cultures and politics, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth.

(Cover photo via Nicholas Eckhart on Flickr.)