Ways to support your community as we enter shopping season.

Wait, isn’t it just one or the other? We often hear about the detriment of buying online for our local businesses, but there can be a benefit, too. Shopping has certainly evolved. The retail world has had to adapt to meet customers’ shopping needs and expectations. There are many ways to achieve a win-win for local businesses and for shoppers.

You might have heard about the Wayfair bill that passed through the legislature and was signed by Gov. Mike Parson. Senate bills 153 and 97 allow Missouri and local jurisdictions to collect an online use tax that will help protect Missouri’s brick-and-mortar businesses, which is extremely important when it comes to fairness among businesses with storefronts and those selling online that do not have a presence here.

Our challenge, locally, is that Jefferson City does not have a use tax, meaning that online retailers like Wayfair have no financial bene-fit to our city because we cannot collect a use tax. The state and county, however, do have a use tax.

Jefferson City tried to pass a use tax a few years ago, but unfortunately, the voters defeated it. Either a sales or use tax, not both, is collected on purchases, and sales tax is collected from local businesses whether in per-son or online. Perhaps now a use tax would be better received by voters, especially as we think about potential dollars that could be collected but are not.

While taxes might not bring holiday cheer, they do bring services that we rely on for a safe community, such as police and fire protection, roads, snow removal, and so much more. It’s the ultimate gift to the community to shop local and sustain our community and businesses. Also, the pandemic has given us a new appreciation for local businesses, as we want to see them succeed now more than ever. We now know how important it is to provide local jobs and find the things we want and expect when we go shopping. Many shoppers want to find what they are looking for locally. That can still happen online. In fact, many stores offer their local goods on-line, which opens the opportunity to sell to a wider audience. My small business, Carrie’s Hallmark, is part of a larger network, and Hallmark stores pull inventory from individual stores rather than a warehouse, so our products can end up anywhere in the country to customers who would likely never step foot into our store. Lots of JC’s other local stores have an online presence, too, whether it’s through their websites, Facebook pages, or Etsy accounts. We love the convenience of buying from local businesses that way, and curbside has become my favorite option for a busy mayor!

Can’t help but snag a hot deal on Amazon?

Shop at smile.amazon.com at no additional cost to you and support your favorite charitable organization.

When you shop with AmazonSmile, you’ll find the exact same prices and shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added benefit that AmazonS-mile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice, such as our local United Way, Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Foundation, or Capitol City Cinema, to name a few.

Carrie Tergin