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On-Line Sales a Huge Problem for Cities

US Consumers Expected To Spend $1.5 Billion On Cyber Monday Holiday Shopping
Scott Olson, Getty Images

In the year 1964 Bob Dylan wrote “The Times They Are A Changing” and little did he realize how much they would change. The Internet, cars that drive themselves, phones without cords attached, pizzas being delivered by drones and I could go on and on. I am sure that Dylan never thought about those changes when he wrote that song 53 years ago.

That leads me to the people of 2017 who think that on-line buying is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Oh, it has its advantages but it comes with consequences as well.  An advantage is it’s easier, usually cheaper and quicker to shop.  The delivery companies love it as well.

But as you drive by what they call the “Brick & Mortar” retail stores think about all the local people who will soon be out of jobs in the years ahead because of on-line shopping. Cities including Quincy are already worried about local sales tax revenue that they are losing.

In Illinois, making a purchase from an out-of-state company can be done without a sales tax applied. An in-state sale will require taxes to be added to a purchase forcing people to purchase items on-line from out-of-state companies. You can see the dilemma that cities are facing.  So where will they make up the difference?

One is to cut services to residents and the other is to raise your taxes to offset the major loss incurred. So that savings you are currently getting with your on-line purchase will end up biting you later. Think of the unemployment factor this is creating and the block after block of empty buildings we are facing in the years ahead.

It’s not a pretty picture, but it is a picture being painted by paint purchased on-line. And that’s the way I see it.

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