Online sales can pose a problem for generating tax revenue

Online sales or buying local

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) - The city of Abilene is bringing in more in property tax than sales tax, something that some people say can cause big problems funding city projects.

Online shopping is increasing in popularity, and that means that sales tax revenue is decreasing. That sales tax is just one way that any city makes money, but it does remove a large source of income.

Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna says that it's something that many cities are facing now. He says, "If you look at retail sales in America right now, there's a redefinition of how people are spending their dollars and where they're spending their dollars."

Gone is the former "us versus them" mentality, where small local business was up against big box chains. But when it comes to the sales tax, buying local means any store that has a physical presence. Those stores generate tax dollars, and money spent can stay in the community to continue driving commerce.

Chamber of Commerce President Doug Peters says, "Every single dollar that can be spent in Abilene,Texas and be a part of the recirculation of money that flows through, the 'flow of dough' as I like to call it, the better off this community will be. Both short term and long term."

Campaigns such as "I Buy Big Country" are designed to shine a spotlight on local shopping, and how it can help the city as a whole.

Abilene Business Council Chair Tammy Withers has made local buying a part of her life, even at her bank job. "I have on my signature line, on my title, here at the bank, at the bottom there's the 'I buy Big Country: Ask me why'."

Withers says it's just another chance to get the word out: "The more we can promote it, the more we can be aware of it, the better it is for our future, our kids future, and our economy."

Online shopping, or shopping in another city, is far from being a bad thing all the time. There are always products that can only be found online, or out of town. There are many locally owned businesses in the Big Country that thrive on online sales.

The answer is finding a good middle ground. That allows consumers to get the products that they need, while making sure that some money stays in the community.

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