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Sales Tax Revenue Vital To City
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Ana Becerra rings up a customer at Moss Rose Bakery, a local bakery on North Third Avenue. Sales tax revenue from local businesses represent the largest source of general tax revenue feeding the city’s coffers. - photo by Kim Van Meter/The Leader
In a tight economy, everyone is looking for better value for money spent. As of July 1, a new fiscal year began, and in the wake of devastating budget cuts that slashed programs, killed jobs, and reduced services, due to dwindling funds funneling into the city’s General Fund, it’s more imperative than ever that residents find ways to spend their hard-earned dollars in the community where they live.The current sales tax rate in Oakdale is 8.375 percent yet only .95 percent of that tax is returned to the community. However, the city’s share of sales tax collected is the largest source of general tax revenue — 40 percent — received annually. The projected sales tax revenue expected for the city’s Fiscal Year 2010-11 is $2,319,000.“Approximately 75 percent of General Fund revenue received by the city is invested in public safety for our citizens of Oakdale; i.e., funding police and fire emergency service operations,” Mary Guardiola, Chief Executive Officer for the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce said. “When we make our purchases in other communities, we help those communities pay for their police officers, firefighters, street maintenance and parks instead of our own.”The biggest contributors to the local sales base isn’t what you may expect, according to data collected by the chamber, they’re service stations (16 percent) and auto sales (13 percent).Local contributors by percentage:• Service stations (16 percent)• Auto Sales New (13 percent)• Restaurants (10 percent)• Food Markets (8 percent)• Auto Parts/Repair (7 percent)• Building Materials (6 percent) With that information at hand, it’s not as daunting a prospect to keep in mind to shop in Oakdale.“Always fill up with gas in Oakdale, always check local car dealers when shopping for a car. Businesses including car dealers and retail stores can get other colors and features for items you may need, just ask. Check local retail stores first before going to other communities,” said Guardiola. “Tell local retailers what type of merchandise you are looking for, many can get what we need or match prices with other businesses. And keep in mind the cost for gas and your time when driving to other communities to make a purchase.”In a recent quarterly report the California State Board of Equalization (BOE) announced that taxable sales in California had decreased 19 percent in the second quarter of 2009 when compared to the same quarter of the previous year.Taxable sales in California continued their unprecedented decline, totaling only $113.4 billion during the second quarter of 2009, a drop of $26.6 billion from the second quarter of 2008. The year-over-year decline in quarterly taxable sales continued for the eighth consecutive quarter.According to the same report, taxable transactions in Stanislaus County went down 17 percent from the previous year.In other words, everyone is feeling the pinch but as the chamber states, “Buy in Oakdale, it really does matter!”Guardiola said, “Purchases in Oakdale come back in compounding benefits. When you buy from a locally owned business, that shopkeeper will likely spend your money at another local business. In turn, community residents maintain jobs and taxes pay for parks, public safety, which help make Oakdale a special place to live.”