By Assemblyman Will Barclay
During the first week of September, the nation pauses to celebrate Labor Day. The holiday was created in the 1880s and by 1894, Congress passed an act naming the first Monday in September officially as Labor Day.
The holiday grew in popularity as labor organizations grew across the country.
Labor Day was created to encourage families to stop working for the day and to have fun. As such, parades and picnics are traditionally part of the weekend’s activities for many.
New York was a leader in the movement.
In fact, a parade which took place in New York City on Sept. 5, 1882, is often credited as the first unofficial Labor Day event. Workers from local unions gathered to rally workers and draw attention to labor issues of the day.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were as many as 10,000 to 20,000 marchers who participated and gathered in Reservoir Park.
Through the years, Labor Day continued to be celebrated and images such as the Rosie the Riveter illustrated how woman too were working in previously male-dominated manufacturing jobs, to help the U.S. fight the war while men fought overseas.
In this country, we have a long history of strong work ethics and ingenuity.
The early industries such as paper mills, flour mills, sawmill, and textile manufacturers shaped our region.
Today, our current job creators can be found in food, machinery, energy, agriculture, health and service industries.
We continue to be innovative and industrious about reaching markets locally and internationally.
In fact, according to a recent report published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly wage in 2013 for Oswego and Onondaga counties is higher than the national average. Oswego County averaged at $742 and Onondaga County averaged at $858. Jefferson County came in at $647.
The national average weekly wage registered at $673.
One thing still holds true as it did in our early beginnings: buying local matters. It is estimated that for every $1 spent locally, up to $.45 is reinvested in our communities. It is closer to $.15 cents for every $1 when spent outside of the region.
Studies also indicate that if Americans shifted just 10% of their purchases to support the local economy, it would infuse millions of additional dollars per year to the community’s economy.
The dollars spent locally help our neighbors and friends stay in business.
It also keeps tax dollars local. It is estimated that local sales tax comprises 45% of a county’s total budget.
These dollars help maintain local roads, health care, pensions and prisons.
In 2013, according to the State Department of Tax and Finance, Jefferson County collected $73 million in sales tax, Onondaga County collected $322 million and Oswego County collected $42 million. These collections help offset property taxes as well.
Late summer goes hand and hand with back to school shopping. This is another way we can support our local economy.
It’s estimated that nationwide, there are 78 million students from nursery school to college who will need to purchase goods, from clothing to books, in preparation for school. That’s about 26% of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Clothing items under $110 is also exempt from New York state sales tax (4%) this year again.
If you have any questions or comments or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.