AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - City of Amarillo officials have announced that since November of 2017, the “Buy the Way-Keep it Local” campaign has been producing beneficial results.
The city said Amarillo’s sales tax has increased two percent compared to this time last year, meaning it had a $546,000 increase.
City Councilmember Elaine Hays said because of the increase, the city was able to provide more positions for the police and fire departments, improving public safety.
“Part of that is just communicating to our citizens how those sales taxes work,” said Hays. “When they’re shopping, they’re gonna pay those sales tax anyways. Why not spend those dollars here? Let those sales tax collections come to our general fund to help us provide services like street maintenance, hiring police officers and additional fire fighters. That’s exactly what happened over the last two years.”
Because the city saw success with residents shopping local, officials hope businesses will do the same when it comes to purchasing their inventory and other business supplies.
Although the city said it is seeing success, one local economist has some concerns about the campaign’s long-term success.
“I think it may have a measurable impact in the short term but no, over the longer term, I don’t much believe they do,” said Amarillo economist Karr Ingham. “The reason is that consumer incentives are just so powerful.”
Ingham said consumers nationwide are showing higher trends of buying online because of lower prices and convenience, adding, “I don’t quite understand why we want to turn back the clock 20 years on that extraordinary consumer advancement."
Ingham noticed the first three months of sales tax in 2019 are actually down by 1.3 percent, compared to the first three months of 2018 and believes the city should measure sales tax over a longer period of time.
“Looking at sales tax numbers, it never makes much sense to just look at one month. You really need to look at the longer term. Two percent growth, at two percent inflation, is essentially zero percent real growth.”
The city said sales tax showed the most improvement following the campaign. However, Ingham believes those improvements were happening before the campaign was put into place.