Cities to make adjustments as online shopping booms

Posted at 9:31 PM, Aug 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-18 23:34:25-04

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. – Whenever you go to a store and buy something, cities receive a portion of what you purchased. Oftentimes, that sales tax revenue makes up a good portion of a city’s budget. 

But with a surge in online shopping, stores are having to find ways to compete. Cities too. 

“I get to see a lot of people coming through the door who are buying things on the computer or overseas, and they don’t know what’s been done or what treatments have been done,” said Trisha Kennedy, who owns Kennedy’s Custom Jewelers. 

Her business is family-owned and has been serving customers in Blue Springs for decades. 

“Really it’s a matter of finding a place that makes you feel at home. A lot of your mom and pops, they do that for you,” Kennedy said. 

Like many cities, Blue Springs has had to readjust its budget and think about cutting specific services. 

According to the city’s communications officer, like other cities in the state, sales tax revenue in Blue Springs has plateaued. The city is now trying to determine if online shopping has played a role. 

The Missouri Municipal League believes it has. 

The organization recently released a report, which estimated how much money residents in each city spent on Amazon purchases in 2015. The report also estimated how much tax revenue the respected city could have generated, relative to the amount spent on purchases. 

In St. Louis, for example, the “guesstimated Amazon use tax revenue” would have been $1.8 million. In Blue Springs, that total ballpark estimate would have been $141,922. 

It’s one of the reasons why Kennedy said she’s proud to have a local business that’s so involved in the community. And why she always tries to shop local. 

“What you spend here, your money, we are turning back and giving to the community. It is staying in our community,” she said.