I remember very clearly the first time I read a list of 10 Reasons to Buy Locally. It was many years ago and I was browsing the hardbacks in Betsy Burton’s bookshop, The King’s English. The list was taped to the electrical box. I had traveled out of my way past a big box bookstore to get to my favorite locally-owned bookseller, so I started reading it with a “sure, buy locally, yeah I know that,” sort of attitude. I was in the choir and thought I knew the sermon.
However, reason #6 surprised me. I had never thought to weigh the issues around e-fairness. I had occasionally purchased gifts on Amazon without considering the implications, failing to connect my unpaid sales tax with the realities of our over-sized classrooms and underpaid teachers. I had never considered the way in which my out-of-state online purchases created an inequitable playing field for my friends, the business owners in my own neighborhood.
Another friend, Tracy Strauss, is a local artist and dedicated art teacher. She teaches third-graders at Guadalupe School, a school serving economically disadvantaged children since 1966. Recently, half of the funding was cut for this statewide arts learning program. We all know that programs such as these are perpetually on the chopping block. So it’s worth remembering that when we spend locally, instead of out-of-state online, we keep tax dollars in our economy where they are reinvested in programs like the one serving Guadalupe schoolchildren. When I vote with my dollars, it makes a critical difference. Tracy describes the difference the art program makes for her students. “Art gives them confidence, a sense of pride.”
Spending locally, even directly from local businesses online, ensures that our tax dollars are reinvested where they belong – right here in our community!