In January, we wrote about a special 25-year tax deal that Sandy has offered to Scheels, a sporting goods store. Watch this video report to hear what representatives from Sandy, Sutherland Institute, and a local business competitor had to say about the deal:
What do you think about the deal Sandy has offered to Scheels?
Here’s the script of the video:
VOICE-OVER: It is 220,000 square feet, and it will have a 65-foot-tall Ferris wheel and a 16,000-gallon salt-water aquarium. No, it’s not a theme park. Scheels, a sporting goods retailer, will open its doors in Sandy this October. But the catch in this project? Sandy city agreed to rebate 100 percent of Scheels’ property taxes for 25 years, a deal worth more than $16.8 million.
NICK DUERKSEN: So what was very important is to bring in a retailer that complements the existing retailers, so we spent a lot of time looking at what kinds of retailers do that and could bring what we needed.”
VOICE-OVER: Nick Duerksen, director of business and economic development in Sandy, says it is rare for the city to offer incentives, and it is unlikely that any other business would receive the same incentive as Scheels.
DUERKSEN: “We don’t do a lot of incentives in Sandy; we’ve done very few really directly to a tenant like this. They’ll have to be on that level; they’re going to have to be one of those that brings, I mean Scheels is going to bring 3 to 4 million people to their store every year.”
VOICE-OVER: Scheels clearly does not need a tax break to survive; it earns hundreds of millions in revenue each year and is expanding into new states, including Utah. So why is the corporation getting a deal?
NICK DUERKSEN: “We know they were considering both Utah and Idaho for their next location, so we were in competition with Idaho to try and get them here.”
VOICE-OVER: Sutherland spoke with Glen Gerner, a local businessman who owns Wasatch Running Center in Sandy. He says he did not receive any incentives to open his business and doesn’t think the incentive given to Scheels is fair.
GERNER: “Well of course it’s not fair, but the fact of life is that things are not fair, but there are some things we can make fair, and this is one that could have been made fair, but it’s not.”
VOICE-OVER: Duerksen says 400 employees will be hired by October, but Gerner says the deal could have a negative impact on other Sandy businesses.
GERNER: “As far as increasing the number of employees, well, we might lose some at the other sport goods stores who might not find it viable to stay open anymore.”
VOICE-OVER: Matt Piccolo, Sutherland Institute’s policy analyst, does not believe government should be in the business of providing advantages to favored companies.
MATT PICCOLO: “We understand that Scheels might bring some economic benefit to the area, but government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers. With this deal, Scheels wins, but many other local businesses lose because they are paying taxes that their competitor does not have to pay.