There is no “we” in econo-me!

May 14

Caution: Monday Morning Soapbox

I admit it, I’m an eavesdropper. I’m horrible about it and it makes Sunday brunch a little awkward for my poor wife, who has gotten used to that blank look in my eyes when I’m really listening to the people behind her, not her…

Yesterday was no exception as I got to listen-in on the conversations of two couples next to us for about an hour. Here’s the gist:

Older Man: Upset because the city still hasn’t fixed a series of potholes near his house.
Young Woman: Loved the third book of the Hunger Games but didn’t buy it from the local bookstore, but from B& because parking is a pain.
Young Man: Annoyed about the library’s shorter hours.
Older Woman: Looking forward to her photography class through parks and rec.
Young Man:  Needed to drive to Bremerton next week to get a park for his boat because the local shop was too expensive.
Older Man: Complaining about how TurboTax screwed up his refund this year, having to file an amendment.
All Four: Wondering if the city was going to have enough money for a parade and fireworks this year for the 4th of July.

Well, if you look through some of the key points of this conversation, you’ll hopefully notice a couple of things. In short, without a healthy local economy driven through the sale of local products and services (and sponsorship or volunteerism by local businesses), there simply isn’t the tax revenue needed for things like road repairs, library hours, and fireworks.

Without a healthy local economy, there’s no hope of a healthy community.

Here are some solutions that I wanted to offer:
Older Man’ Curb: First, he needs to understand where the jurisdiction and budgets come for. Second, the last torrential rainfall for the season was about two days ago…
Young Woman’s Book: Stop being so lazy – there’s street parking and all sorts of parking lots within 50-100 yards of the store!
Young Man’s Library Gripe: Maybe if he was buying his boat parts locally (or voting to support the taxes needed), the library would have longer hours.
Older Woman’s Photo Class: Good! She should tank the local business owner who is giving his time to the community in this way!
Young Man’s Boat Parts:  I got the sense that the man had never been to the local boat shop, as, if he had, he’d have known that the parts may have been 5-10% more expensive, certainly not worth a 90-minute round-trip drive and fuel expense (only to avoid one of the more knowledgeable marine store owners that I’ve ever met…)
Older Man’s Taxes: There are plenty of local CPA’s who would have likely skipped those mistakes and done a better job of finding deductions and credits. (All the while, having a portion of their revenue return to the local economy.)
Parade and Fireworks: See above. If you want fireworks, you have to pay for them…

Luckily, my wife has be trained to listen-only in my eavesdropping…

The moral of the story? If you want a healthy community, be a part of it!

– Steve Ramsey
co-Founder of RelyLocal

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