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At the most basic level, when you buy local, more money stays in the community. A story in Entrepreneur magazine states that The New Economics Foundation, an independent economic think tank, compared what happens when people buy from businesses that are located in the area that they live in versus businesses outside of their community or online. The foundation found for every $100 spent at a local business, $78 remained in the community.

That is an amazing statistic and really illustrates the need to buy from local merchants. Keeping as much commerce local as possible is vital to a community's overall strength and success. Employment and tax dollars are the bedrock of a strong community and the more we focus on that, the better our community will be.

It is not only the obligation of the institutions and business in a community to insure that economics are kept local, it is up to the individual citizens also. Every dollar that is spent outside of our local area hurts us all.

Our roads, sidewalks, utilities, police and fire protection are all funded in part by sales tax revenue and that revenue comes from local dollars spent at local businesses. Our local government's ability to repair and improve these important aspects of our lives is tied directly to our spending habits.

When we want to complain about road conditions, garbage collection or police protection, let's take a second and think about all the shopping trips that our family has taken out of town. Every one of those trips has an adverse effect on our local economy. When we make that trip to a larger city to shop, it hurts local businesses and also our local infrastructure because that infrastructure is dependent on tax dollars.

Traveling to our neighboring large city is cool and fun, and I'm not saying to not do it. What I am saying is it should be the exception, not the rule. Even if we have to pay a little bit more to shop at home, it is worth it in the long run.

The same should be said for shopping online. Yes, Amazon began collecting sales taxes in March of 2017. This is great and helps our economy, but Amazon doesn't employ a single person in Garland County. Local businesses employ more people directly per dollar of revenue earned, they also are the customers of local auto dealers, accountants, wholesalers, farms, attorneys, etc., expanding opportunities for local entrepreneurs. This domino effect is what makes a local economy thrive and improve.

I have heard some people complain that there isn't enough of this or that type of business in Garland County. Part of the reason we do not have more businesses is because of the dollars spent in other counties. Keep the majority of your dollars at home and watch how it changes our community.

Think of it like this, by shopping locally, you are not only saving gas, but you are making an investment in your children's future. Your dollars spent locally will come back to you in the form of better roads and services, but also in more stores and shopping opening up. Don't drive to spend. Instead, let local be the focal point and watch your community improve.

Editorial on 11/26/2017

Print Headline: Shop local or stop complaining

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