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Bass Pro Shops, Costco ease pain of sales tax losses
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The passing of each month makes the sales tax deals that brought The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley plus Costco to Manteca seem even shrewder moves.

Manteca – like other cities – has experienced drops in sales tax. The fall-off would be even more drastic if it weren’t for the two heavyweights among retailers opening up for business right as the Great Recession started deepening. Bass Pro Shops is on target for 2 million shoppers by the end of their first year.

The shoppers come from a 100-miule radius and obviously are the more confident consumers among the 88 percent of the California workforce that is still employed.

Costco essentially kept money in Manteca that was going to their wholesale warehouses locations in Tracy and Modesto plus drawing in consumer dollars from nearby communities such as Lathrop, Ripon and Escalon. The naysayers claim that all they see is food being purchased at Costco. Yes, that’s a lot of it but look at the other taxable consumer goods going into the carts. It may not have been like the go-go day before the bubble burst but people are still buying. It is better they spend that money here than elsewhere as it means local jobs and support for municipal services.

Big League Dreams - either because of the recession and people cutting back on traveling or in spite of it – is still packing in out-of-town teams every weekend. Again, the Greek Chorus says BLD is a bust. Go ask Manteca hotels how they’d be hurting without the BLD business.  Last weekend we ate at Chipotle’s and Applebee’s. Both times there were kids in uniform and their families who were participating in a BLD tournament. Go into Chili’s sometime on a weekend. Those people wearing baseball uniforms that pop into places like Old Navy also are out-of-town folks. They may not be spending as much as they did a year ago but they are spending.

Yes, sales tax is dropping but it isn’t because of the deals Manteca cut. Without those deals Costco would not have come to Manteca as soon as they did. Costco is essentially a 50-50 split of the city’s primary one cent per dollar sales tax for 10 years.

The Orchard Valley deal was over 35 years maximum. It ends sooner if a set amount is reached first. The split is 55 for the city and 45 for the developer. It made it possible for the developer to put in pricey infrastructure. The sales tax split made the projects a reality.

 Without it, the developers would have passed on Manteca.

At the end of the day the Bass Pro Shops dollars would not have been flowing into Manteca to ease the pain somewhat of a major drop-off in new car sales nor would JC Penney be filling the void created by the closure of Mervyn’s.

Manteca essentially gave up part of “new” sales tax that would never have been able to claim otherwise.

It has made the drop in sales tax revenue not as severe in Manteca as it has in some neighboring cities.

The critics contend the sales tax Manteca gave up could have gone to the general fund. The question is how would have that happened if Bass Pro Shops and Costco weren’t here? Maybe JC Penney would have come to Manteca eventually in another development along with Best Buy but the reality is they came because of Bass Pro Shops.

The upscale lifestyle outlets that will fill the balance of the Orchard Valley complex is opening it first stores in February. The reason is the drawing power of Bass Pro Shops that brings affluent shoppers to Manteca to drop their dollars.

Manteca would not have been in the running for upscale outlets without Bass Pro Shops. It wouldn’t have even been on the radar screen for an average outlet mall. Yes, it is quite possible the Manteca outlets could be the death knell for Tracy Outlets.

But again, the dollars are coming here to Manteca which is what we want our elected leaders to shoot for so the local economy and municipal servcie benefit.

Manteca also has the added bonus of the half cent public safety tax not being part of any deal. Yes, revenues in that account are down but they would have sunk even further without the Bass Pro Shop sand Costco projects.

Without the sales tax deals, Manteca would be bleeding much more severely.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail