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Shopping Local for Holiday Gifts has a Positive Impact on Your Community

Find out the benefits of shopping local to get the gifts on your Christmas list.

There's a push this weekend to support our locally owned businesses. Buying gifts for your loved ones can be just a mouse click away...but online shopping can be bad for local business.

Living Well's Karissa Sanford finds out the positive impact shopping in central Illinois can have this holiday season.

More people are turning to online retailers to get a bargain this holiday season, but the dollars they save may end up costing you and your neighbors in the long run. Here to explain the benefits of buying from local retailers is Michael Kercheval, President and CEO of the international council of shopping centers. Michael, start off by talking about the overall retail climate this season.

First of all, thank you for having me on the program. The holiday season looks to be stacking up to be a good one this year. We expect there will be about a three and a half percent increase in holiday sales this year over last year, so that's a good solid number. People are expected to be shopping discount stores, department stores, local mom and pop stores and doing some online shopping. So, it looks like it's going to be a good season. That's good, that means additional seasonal jobs, and maybe as many as a million seasonal jobs will be created this year for the holiday season. A real boost to the economy and a boost to the retail sector of
the economy. The challenge and I think you alluded to that, is for our brick and mortar retailers, these are the stores and these are the people who are our
neighbors, our friends and in many cases our families who support our communities. They create the local jobs. They pay the local property taxes. They're the ones who support the local little league and local activities. Importantly, when they make a sale to a customer, they collect sales taxes on that sale. And
those sales taxes stay in the community and support the public services and life-safety services of the community. So, that local retailer is very, very
important for the local jobs and vitality and for the fiscal health of the community. Now, when you buy something online, and if you're buying it from an
online retailer who's not located in your state, that out of state online retailer is not required to collect sales tax from you at the time you make the
purchase like a local retailer is required. This confuses shoppers. Shoppers look online compared to in the store it was cheaper to buy online making the
assumption that there are no sales taxes. The consumer has to pay the sales tax whether it's collected by the retailer or not. The sales tax is due what's on
the state books. Too often the consumer doesn't know where to make that sales tax payment and so it looks cheaper online. That hurts more than helps retailers.

And if our viewers want more information on the impact of buying local versus buying online, where can
we go?

ICSC.org, our website. When they go there they can also learn about a piece of legislation called the marketplace fairness act. It’s been passed in the senate and is pending in the house. When it's passed by the house it will level the playing field and give outer states the right to collect and resubmit taxes back to the state just
like their local retailers and level that playing field. Have your kids write a letter to Santa, but I want all the adults to write a letter to our congressmen for that leveled playing field for the Marketplace Fairness Act.

Excellent, thank you so much Michael.

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