Shop Local! Give The Mouse A Furlough And Shop Closer To Home Around Town, posted by Local Shop Owner, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2009 at 6:01 pm
We shoppers irk local merchants when, despite layoffs, bankruptcies and shortage of government revenue accompanying the sharpest economic slowdown in recent memory, many of us continue to buy things on the Internet.
Many purchases are from sources so distant that our dollars can't find their way back to this community. But if we buy locally, the money is recycled immediately in paychecks, taxes, advertising, banking, insurance, real estate and countless other ways that strengthen the local economy.
A campaign called "Backyard Economics: Local Spending Works" makes a timely plea to buy as much as you can as close to your hometown as you can. It's generally good advice as evidenced by the variety of groups pushing the effort.
For every $100,000 California residents spend out of state, California loses one job. With spending on remote Internet sales now something like $12 billion a year, California is losing lots of jobs and lots of sales tax revenue.
No one is demanding that you buy only local all the time or sacrifice your freedom as a consumer to benefit from national and global markets. The request from business leaders is simply that you be sensitive to the reality that buying from someone who supports the local economy also helps support fire and police protection, schools and jobs for your neighbors.
Several other factors also must be kept in mind. One is that California's economy also depends on selling many things out of state, and another is that communities around the world are starting their own buy-local campaigns.
Lincolnshire County in Great Britain has a buy-local campaign called "Lincolnshire Bites Back." A filmmaker at the University of Alabama has launched a project called "Eating Alabama." He and his wife are living only on things grown or raised there. He won't eat a Florida orange because it didn't come from an Alabama tree.
"If everyone in this state made a concerted effort to buy locally raised vegetables and meats," he says, "we could put a huge amount of money back into our economy."
A buy-local campaign in Michigan echoes the same theme.
Before this all goes too far, everyone needs to also think about what would happen if we circle the economic wagons too tightly. We wouldn't all be better off. A vacation on Lake Michigan wouldn't be the same as one on the Gulf of Mexico. And to keep Michigan's dairies working at their present pace in economic isolation, every man, woman and child in the state would have to drink a quart of Michigan milk a day.
Helping the local economy doesn't require folks in Alabama to swear off oranges or folks in Florida to give up Wisconsin cheese.
What everyone should do is think about the power of their choices.
A music retailer who started a buy-local campaign in Minnesota makes an important point: "People vote with their dollars every day to decide what stays and what goes."
So consider which local stores, restaurants and services you want to see survive the recession, and make an extra effort to give them some extra business.
You might not realize how some of the money will come right back to you, but you'll feel better knowing that it will.
Posted by Carl, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2009 at 8:00 pm
Joe - When the sales tax goes up 1% on April 1, know that 40% (proportion of state budget allocated to education) is going to schools. Note that the California Teachers Association is gathering signatures for a state ballot proposition to raise the sales tax another 1% of which 100% is to go to the schools. Nothing like having a 10.75% sales tax.
Unfortunately the effect of raising sales taxes is to make people shift their purchases onto the internet. Exactly the opposite of what Local Shop Owner wants to happen.
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore, on Mar 21, 2009 at 8:55 pm
What money I have I spend wisely. Not only do I get many items online tax free but delivery is included. Ever consider a co-op market and giving shopper's a dividend at the end of the year? I love my Amazon Kindle and I never bother visiting bookstores anymore. I read most newspapers online. Save a penny here 'n there, that's me.
Posted by Wow, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2009 at 9:07 pm
Wow Carl, that is incredible how you were able to take this story and find teachers at fault. You seem to be really driven to spread this negativity towards education every chance you get. Scare tactics anyone?
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2009 at 9:43 pm
The CTA _is_ gathering signatures. But it isn't for a 1% increase. The increase is supposed to be 1 cent. And the initiative isn't for going directly "to the schools". It is for funding more class size reduction so that there are more jobs for more teachers.
Imposes 1% sales and use tax to supplement current education funding. Requires that 89% of new revenue be used for kindergarten through grade 12 and 11% be used for community colleges. Prohibits transfer or borrowing of funds by Legislature. Authorizes funds for uses including staff development, teacher salaries, student services and programs like art, music, and vocational education. Prohibits use for administrative costs. Excludes revenues from budget and spending limitation calculations. Requires annual independent audits with State Controller review of findings. Authorizes civil or criminal penalties for misuse of funds. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased revenues of $2.5 billion in 2009-10 and $5.1 billion annually thereafter from a one-cent per dollar increase in the sales and use tax. Revenues would be dedicated to specific K-12 education and community college programs. Decreased revenues to state and local governments from a reduction in sales-related tax revenues due to decreased overall consumption. The amount of the decreased revenues could be hundreds of millions of dollars annually. (08-0021.)
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 22, 2009 at 8:25 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
The above post from 8 hours ago is not mine. It appears that someone would rather have a laugh at everyone's expense than contribute anything meaningful to the discussion.
Asking, Sales tax is a percentage of the price of a purchase.
Carl, I had read earlier it was only $0.01 (Web Link). It looks like the CTA has modified it. Thanks for the new info. I love this line: "Decreased revenues to state and local governments from a reduction in sales-related tax revenues due to decreased overall consumption."
Posted by Kristen, a resident of the Happy Valley neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2009 at 10:42 am
The problem is that local Pleasanton shops are grossly overpriced. I'm willing to spend a little extra to support the local economy, but the goods in Pleasanton shops are way more expensive than I'm willing to pay for the quality.
Posted by Thought so too, but..., a resident of another community, on Mar 23, 2009 at 11:12 am
I thought that too, Kristen, but have been surprised, especially lately. Several are out of my price range, but there are a few places to find good stuff. I seem to see a lot of sales going on too, which helps.
Posted by downtown shopper, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Mar 23, 2009 at 8:16 pm
I agree with both posters above about the pricing in some downtown stores. Many are reasonably priced and have unique things. However, I have yet to see a clothing store (hello -- $100 for a T-shirt???) or an art gallery (don't even get me started) that has a single thing worth my money. Seems the more their stuff costs the ruder they are to the potential customers. Maybe it is just karma when they go out of business.