It is interesting to watch as the USA becomes an economy based on consumer spending, the cities that have the regional shopping Mall's and big box concentration's, harvest the largest amount of sales tax dollars.
I have written before that with little doubt, the best thing that Neil Dillard did as mayor was grant "The Gap" a tax break to come to the Carbondale Mall. In the 5 short years since then, the Carbondale Mall has filled up with good stores and the Marion Mall is in serious trouble.
Things are so bad in Marion that they sent my little internet company BoundlessGallery.com a letter and glossy brochure to relocate there. Reports are that Marion had no traffic over Christmas outside of their 3 big boxes (Target, Dillard's and Sears). How dead is the traffic? The Friday before Christmas, there were only 5 walkers counted inside the Mall. The stores inside the Mall are just dead and the marginal stores outside of the mall are seeing hard times and some are shutting down.
Would the situation be reversed if "The Gap" and more importantly in Southern Illinois, "Old Navy" had gone to Marion instead? I think it likely would be completely different.
How much money would it cost Carbondale to stop being the shopping center of Southern Illinois? Do you want to drive to Marion to shop? I don't.
Some people say that giving corporate welfare is always bad. In many cases, if you become the regional hub, you harvest the follow on business as well. This is exactly what happened in Carbondale's Mall, thanks to a small tax break.
Of course, your comments are welcome.