Think Globally, Shop Locally
By Chamber Chairman Denise Deal
Tis the holiday season! Merry Christmas and soon to follow Happy New Year!! Now that all the “well wishing” is out of the way, let’s get down to the brass tacks. It is that time of year you either love or hate – the gift giving and gift buying season. No one dislikes the opportunity to receive a gift, but, let’s face it, some would rather eat worms than begin thinking about the arduous task of buying gifts for friends, co-workers and family members. On the other hand, some of us get a little more of a rush thinking about the gift giving season if it means an all-out shopping extravaganza. Ultimately, this is the season of giving, and after all the hustle and bustle, we should pause to reflect on the joy of giving to others.
Speaking of giving, you can give a lasting gift to our community by simply shopping locally. Regardless of your personal gift giving preference, there is one point we can all agree on during this holiday season – when you shop in Gainesville-Hall County, you give the best gift of all and you share it with many – your sales tax dollars! That’s right! Your gift buying generates sales tax dollars that work throughout the year to improve our community in so many different ways. With your approval and support, our community leaders utilize sales tax dollars through three different ways:
LOST – Local Option Sales Tax – The average monthly collection is $2.5 million, and annually this sales tax gain generates $29 million to be spent on local improvement projects.
SPLOST – Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax – In December 2006, SPLOST collected $2.5 million, and annually this sales tax gain generates $28.2 million to be spent on projects specified by a referendum approved by voters every five years.
ESPLOST – Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax – In December 2006, ESPLOST collected $2+ million and the annual collection for 2006 was $29 million that was spent on our future leaders in this community. As with the SPLOST, the Education SPLOST is also approved by you the voter every five years.
Make no mistake, your sales tax dollars are a tremendous boost to our community, but just your shopping in Gainesville/Hall County supports our local economy in so many ways. Remember, when you shop in neighboring counties, they get the benefit of your sales tax dollars.
Giving can take on so many forms. Such as with INK, Interactive Neighborhood for Kids, an organization that gives so much to our community as demonstrated by their recent Community Wide Celebration Honoring Families. In their celebration of National Family Week, INK recognized individuals and organizations that have helped improve our community and work diligently to make Gainesville/Hall County a better place to live, work, stay and play.
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
Even in the most severe drought this community has ever seen, we have much to be thankful for this holiday season. Let’s all pledge to take a moment during this busy time to reflect on the blessings we have received this year and remember to “give your gift” this Christmas season!