We are quickly approaching the point at which online purchases can’t get to consumers in time to be placed under the tree before Christmas.
That means the local retail landscape should be bustling this weekend. Brace yourselves for the last-minute frenzy that’s about to unfold.
The upside is that “buy local” is now less of a campaign to remind holiday shoppers of their role the local economy than a hard reality. We’ve often touched on why buying locally should be an important consideration for the civic-minded.
Spending money locally, it has the chance to get used several times in the region (a multiplier effect) with each transaction generating sales tax revenue for local governments. By contrast, buying gifts online takes money out of local circulation and sends it to a corporation in another town or state.
This discrepancy used to be compounded by the fact that online retailers didn’t have to charge sales tax if they didn’t have a bricks-and-mortar business location in a particular state.
That’s changing. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that states can compel online retailers to collect sales taxes, Colorado began implementing policies and laws to direct a portion of the online sales tax revenue back to the communities where online transactions originate.
For decades online retailers had a competive advantage. Avoiding taxes helped keep their prices low. As states implement tax collections from online sales, the online price advantage should diminish. But online retailers will always be popular with those who enjoy the convenience of shopping from home and having products delivered to their doorstep.
At least municipalities will see some tax dollars coming their way. So while the “unfair tax advantage” argument against online shopping has been watered down, “buy local” is still an important concept by the way it impacts the local economy via the circulation of local dollars.
“Buy Local” isn’t a condemnation of online shopping. It’s simply a request to the consumer to consider something other than the cheapest price.
This community has poured a lot of resources trying to lure primary jobs to the region. Primary jobs produce goods and services in excess of what can be consumed in the local marketplace. For example, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce cites local jobs tied to polymer production as an example of primary jobs. Polymers are exported to another market and money is returned to Grand Junction for the product, creating the flow of new wealth into the community.
Buying local plays off the same concept. Given the extreme effort to attract outside dollars into the community, why would we export dollars to another community by shopping online or on the Front Range?
It’s something to keep in mind year-round, not just during the holidays. Nevertheless, happy last-minute shopping!