For Immediate Release November 23, 2011
Staff Contact: Rigo Leal, Public Information Officer, 303-651-8840
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City Launches Shop Local Campaign
NOVEMBER 23, 2011 - In an effort to support Longmont businesses and educate the public about the importance of local sales tax, the City of Longmont has launched a shop local marketing campaign.
There are two messages that the campaign is focused on:
When you shop Longmont, you support local businesses. The health of our local economy is dependant on the strength of our area businesses. When a business struggles, it creates a vicious economic drag, leading to fewer jobs, lost paychecks and overall financial instability. If a company ultimately goes out of business it can lead to a chain reaction that can negatively affect other businesses. When this economic synergy disappears, it is very difficult to recapture.
When you shop Longmont, you support local City services including police and fire protection, street maintenance and construction, parks, trails, open space, youth and senior services, library and recreation programs. Approximately 40 percent of the revenue in the City’s annual operating budget comes from sales and use tax. In order to maintain the high level of municipal services that Longmont residents have come to expect, sales tax dollars need to stay within our borders.
The shop local campaign hopes to deliver that message in a variety of ways starting with a tote bag giveaway. When a shopper spends $15 in a participating business and presents a "You (and your money) Belong in Longmont" coupon they receive a free canvas tote bag. Printed on the side of the bag is a message about how buying local supports Longmont City services through sales taxes. Coupons can be found in the City's Longmont Life newsletter, in City Line the City's utility bill newsletter, in the Longmont Times-Call holiday supplement and online at www.YouBelonginLongmont.org.
In addition to the free tote bag promotion, the campaign is
airing four TV spots on local Comcast TV channels and the Comcast website that remind residents to shop in Longmont;
In the past, some residents have resisted the notion of shopping in Longmont because they perceive that sales tax rates are lower in other communities. The truth is that Longmont’s sales tax rate is very competitive with other Colorado cities. When you shop in Longmont, you pay a combined sales tax rate of 8.175 percent local tax on your bill. Here’s the breakdown:
City of Longmont – 3.275%
State of Colorado – 2.90%
RTD – 1.00%
Scientific and Cultural Facilities – 0.20%
Boulder County – 0.80%
Let’s take a short shopping trip through our neighboring cities and compare rates.
If you choose to shop at FlatIron Crossing in Broomfield, you will pay an 8.25 percent sales tax rate plus .20 percent public improvement fee (8.45 percent). If you decide to drive to the Orchard Town Center in Westminster, you will pay 8.70 percent. Shopping at the Centerra Mall in Loveland will cost you 6.7 percent plus 2.25 percent public improvement fee (8.95 percent). If the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder appeals to you, then expect to pay 8.31 percent. And the rate at the Larkridge Center in Thornton is 8.6 percent. The public improvement fee pays for the mall’s improvements such as curbs and sidewalks, parking facilities, storm management system, sanitary sewer systems, road development (within the site) and outdoor public plaza.
As you can see, shopping in Longmont is less expensive from a sales tax/fee standpoint than nearby communities and you save travel costs. But more importantly, shopping locally means your tax dollars stay in the city and support critical services.
There is one more important thing to remember. When you shop online without paying sales tax, you do harm to the local economy and hurt the City’s ability to provide services.
Whether you are shopping for big ticket items or the week’s groceries, think Longmont businesses first. Spending your hard-earned dollars in the city directly supports your neighbors, their businesses and the important municipal services that we rely on.
Remember, You (and your money) Belong in Longmont.