Are big-box stores good or bad for a city? For jobs and sales revenue, Chicago’s sole Wal-Mart was a wash, David Merriman found in a three-year study. His findings made him a fixture in the national debate.
Merriman’s interest in fair means of raising state and local revenue led him to analyze Chicago’s rising cigarette taxes by checking the tax stamps on littered cigarette packs throughout the city. He found that Chicago was losing a potential $10 million a month as smokers bought cigarettes elsewhere.
A frequent adviser to policy makers, Merriman has been active in Cook County property tax reform.
He has written many articles on flaws in tax increment financing as a tool to aid blighted communities, and published a study showing that the federal-state tug-of-war over Medicaid may increase health care spending.