Significant sales tax gain good sign

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2009

To the editor,

I want to share some very exciting news with you and your readers. I was informed today that our sales tax collections for the month of October, 2009, which represents the sales of our businesses for the month of September, 2009, were up 8.7 percent from the same period a year ago.

As you might imagine, I am very excited and heartened by this news. My excitement not only stems from the fact that as mayor of the city we have more revenue with which to provide more and better services, but also that our plan to develop the Andalusia economy is working. As our single largest source of revenue, sales tax collections also serve as a barometer with which to gauge the health of our economy.

By investing in infrastructure, education, and beautification, we have developed a new economy for the Andalusia area. We have seen existing businesses expand and new businesses locate to Andalusia and the surrounding area that keep local shoppers home and draw those from the outlying areas in to do business. Our business community saw the benefit of public investment by matching it with private investment. Such are the ingredients of a thriving economy.

This also shows that our citizens are pleased with what they can purchase in Andalusia. For years, many of us believed that we had to go to other places to find a good selection or enjoy a fine meal in a nice restaurant. That is no longer the case. Our merchants have worked to establish trendy shops, boutiques, restaurants, hotels, department stores, hardware and general merchandise stores, bakeries, automobile dealers, automotive repair and detail shops, tire dealers, banks and many, many more businesses all supported and complemented by professionals like beauticians, doctors, veterinarians, accountants and lawyers. Furthermore, these businesses buy advertising from your newspaper and local radio and TV stations. They pay for other services like garbage, power, water and sewer from the city. When sales increase, businesses increase inventories, hire more employees, need more services, improve infrastructure, all of which further stimulates the economy.

The benefits from spending our money at home are tremendous. All of us profit from it. As we approach the holiday season, I urge everyone to spend your money in your hometown.

Finally, I want to say that we watch sales tax collections each month and try not to get too excited by good months and at the same time not too down by poor months. While this is certainly good news, we do not know what tomorrow holds. I know that many mayors across the state would love to be able to share similar news with their citizens. Most tell a far worse story. The fact that our economy is strong proves that we are heading in the right direction. But we must not let up. We must continue to work to build our economy.


Earl V. Johnson,