Monday, January 12, 2009

Losing auto dealerships would be a big blow

Some folks have wondered why I would work to keep the Prospect auto dealerships in business even though I have criticized the sales tax arrangement that helped them move to Martell.

It's pretty simple ...
  • More than 80 people have lost their jobs and their families are hurting. These folks are our neighbors.
  • We need good family-wage jobs in our community.
  • Our county, Jackson and Sutter Creek really do need the hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales tax revenue the dealerships provide. The dealers are the single largest source of sales tax for the cities and a huge contributor to county coffers as well.
  • The dealerships and their employees spend a lot of money in local businesses, supporting those businesses and their employees, and creating more local government revenue. It's called the "multiplier effect" -- every dollar spent locally recycles in the community many times.
  • According to one study, each job lost to a layoff leads to another 0.5 to 0.7 jobs lost in a community. It's a downward spiral -- a reverse multiplier effect.
  • Local residents are going to buy cars somewhere. Better that they buy them here and create local jobs and revenue than go to Lodi or Folsom.
  • Local residents, especially working people and the elderly, also need the convenient warranty and repair services provided by the dealerships. While independent repair shops may ramp up if the dealerships stay closed, many people will always prefer a dealer for their warranty service and repair.
  • Many local charitable causes benefit from the dealerships.
As we work to save the Prospect dealerships, we also need to work hard to keep other local businesses alive. You can do you part by shopping local, and patronizing locally owned small businesses instead of huge corporate chain stores. And local businesses can do their part by buying from each other.

We also need to be finding more ways to support other local people who have lost their jobs in this difficult time.

At the rally on Saturday, several people said to me, "We're all in this together."

Indeed we are. And that's what community is all about.

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