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Shopping at home benefits community

As the Christmas season approaches, we encourage SouthwestMississippi residents to give merchants and businesses in theirhometowns the first opportunity to earn their holiday shoppingdollars.

When those merchants turn in their sales tax collections to thestate, 18.5 percent of the total is returned to their respectivecity to help provide services and to address other needs. Thosesales tax dollars, in turn, help keep down other taxes andfees.

The latest figures available — for September — show that$326,028.18 was returned to Brookhaven. So far this year,$967,356.60 has come back home. In Wesson, $8,801.10 was returnedto the town; $34, 327.04 went back to Monticello, $8,011.68 toMeadville and $7,375.26 to Bude.

Another aspect of the buying cycle is the “leakage factor.” Thatrefers to the number of times a dollar changes hands locally beforeit is “leaked” out to another community.

While economists differ on rates, generally one dollar that iscreated locally turns over nine times in the community beforeleaving. A dollar that is brought in from out of town turns overfour times before going on to another community. That means aBrookhaven dollar that is spent in Brookhaven has $9 of economicimpact on the community while a tourist’s dollar contributes $4 ofimpact to the city’s economy.

“They’re both very important and integral to the local economy,”said Chandler Russ, executive vice-president of theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce.

The converse is that dollars spent in other communities go toimprove their infrastructure and help their citizens. Simply put:Dollars spent in Jackson or Hattiesburg or New Orleans help buildroads and schools in those towns when they could be doing the samething at home.

There’s another reason to shop locally, too. You get betterservice from people you know. Think you can’t find what you needwithout going to the big city? Ask the store manager. Chances aregood that what you need can be ordered.

Shopping at home helps local merchants and local communities. Wecan’t think of a better time to do that than during theholidays.