Shirley Leung’s “It’s time to say yes to Walmart” (Business, Aug. 2) neglects to mention that Walmart’s business model — low wages and $17 billion in annual profits — places an enormous burden on US taxpayers. A May 2013 congressional staff report found that a hypothetical 200-person Walmart store costs taxpayers an estimated $420,750 per year. A similar study by the UC Berkeley Labor Center concluded that Walmart workers’ reliance on public assistance programs in California cost taxpayers an estimated $86 million annually.
The vast majority of the nearly 500,000 Massachusetts residents earning less than $11 an hour, many of whom are Walmart employees, are not paid enough to be economically self-sufficient. They receive government subsidies for daily needs, including child care, health care, transportation, food, housing, and education, constituting billions of dollars annually within the state budget.