As sleigh bells and cash registers start to ring, Palestine Mayor Steve Presley sent a holiday message to the community: Shop Local.
Presley told the Herald-Press Thursday he plans to partner with businesses and the local Chamber, as well as challenge city council members at their regular meeting Monday, to come up with ways to keep more holiday jingle in Palestine, including the use of online and social media messaging.
“Part of it is just raising awareness and getting the word out,” Presley said. “We need to keep as much of our local dollars here as possible. That money re-circulates into our economy and means more local jobs, stronger local businesses, and more revenue to the city.”
Presley acknowledged it takes “a little commitment to buy local.”
“It may be easier to shop online,” he said. “But you can find what you want locally if you look for it or ask a local vendor to get it. And you get the satisfaction of knowing you're helping your community and neighbors.”
Presley said he finds almost everything he needs, or a “close substitute” locally.
The city continues to lose sales tax revenue to Amazon and other online and out-of-area businesses, Presley said.
With no state or local income taxes, Texans support state and local governments and public schools through sales and property taxes.
In Palestine, sales taxes total 8.75% of every dollar for most items and services: The state receives 6.25%, Anderson County receives 0.05%, and the city receives 1.5%.
The city’s share—roughly one penny of every dollar spent in local stores or restaurants—is lost when residents purchase online. Presley continues to work state legislators to improve the return of local taxes. That would offset some of what city residents now pay in property taxes and fees for services.
Palestine has numerous small and unique shops and stores that draw shoppers from around the state into walkable venues that bolster a sense of community.
Even shopping at Big box stores in Palestine beats ordering online.