Shopping at home means votes for local economy

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Couple questions involving Jackson police officers’ pay andadditional hirings, continued concerns about the capital city’scrime situation and seemingly never-ending traffic slowdowns due toroad projects and what do you get?

We hope the answer is at least part of the reason behindBrookhaven’s near-record sales tax collections for January. We’dlike to think that by avoiding the potential troubles associatedwith shopping in Jackson and other larger metropolitan areas, moreBrookhaven residents have instead chosen to keep their sales taxdollars at home to help support the local economy.

In his column on today’s business page, Brookhaven-LincolnCounty Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Cliff Brumfieldsays nearly 60 percent of local retail sales are attributable toautomobiles and apparel and general merchandise.

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It certainly is significant that such a large percentage of thecity’s sales tax revenue comes from only two sectors of theeconomy. However, the rest of Brookhaven’s varied sales tax sectors- including restaurants, agriculture and other endeavors – play noless important a role in the local economy.

The key players, though, are residents who shop at and buy fromlocal businesses.

Sales made locally generate dollars that stay here to not onlyhelp the specific merchant but also city government in the form ofsales tax revenue. The secondary effects of local sales involveschools, civic organizations and other functions that benefit whenmerchants have funds to help those causes.

In his column, Brumfield makes an interesting analogy toillustrate how people “vote” with their dollars.

Dollars, or votes, cast with merchants in other communitiesrepresent a shopper’s support for activities in those areas. Ineffect, those dollars mean votes against the shopper’s homecommunity and efforts to see it improve.

While citizens this year will go to the polls to elect statewideand county officeholders, shoppers every day are voting with theirmoney when they consider where they will do business. With that inmind, and for a continued strong economy, we encourage people toshop and vote local.