THERE'S a simple strategy we highly recommend as the annual shopping season shifts into high gear: Buy local.
This clearly isn't a new concept. Retailers and civic leaders from every corner of the map make the case for local purchases every year, and with good cause. Those businesses are critical to the health of the local economies, and we should support them.
When shoppers buy local, they help sustain jobs and provide sales tax collections that help cover the cost of essential community services. Local businesses also provide significant support to a wide array of community activities. And if the products are locally made, shoppers help support manufacturers, producers and entrepreneurs that call West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri home.
Online shopping has surged in recent years, tempting shoppers with the convenience of no lines and no need to leave their homes to track down items. But that convenience comes with a hidden cost as small-town shops close, jobs are lost and the economy suffers.
Quincy Comptroller Sheri Ray reported last month that sales tax and purchase tax collections through the first six months of this year were short of city budget projections. Quincy, like many other cities across the country, has seen sales tax collections plateau or start to decline, imperiling present and future services they can provide.
Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Parson recently took a statewide tour to tout a "Buy Missouri" campaign. During his 10-city swing, Parson repeatedly talked about a "win-win" for manufacturers and consumers that will help the state economy.
His theme works in the Northeast Missouri communities of Hannibal, Palmyra, Canton and others. It is equally appropriate for Illinois communities such as Nauvoo, Pittsfield, Mount Sterling or Quincy. In fact, the "local" tag can include those nearby communities that benefit from the regional workforce.
In addition, there are many advantages to doing business with merchants we know and trust, so give local businesses a chance to meet your needs.
Every dollar spent at home, or close to home, is a vote for our hometowns.