Buying Local Helps Offset Property Taxes, Reinvests in Community

By Assemblyman Will Barclay
According to the National Retail Federation’s holiday consumer spending survey, 53% of Americans have already started their holiday shopping. With the busy shopping season upon us, it’s a good idea to remember this: Buy Local.

Buying local helps your community. It helps the families who run the local businesses and it helps the greater community because those business owners are likely to reinvest in the same community with your dollars.

It also helps offset local property taxes.

When a purchase is made, sales tax is charged (except for grocery and those goods determined to be necessities). All of that money goes to the State of New York and then, the State sends respective counties back a percentage.

Both Onondaga and Oswego counties share their portion with the local municipalities to help offset local property taxes.

How much the local municipalities receive is based on population. Sales tax collections at both the county and state levels are significant.

Last year, according to the Department of Tax and Finance, Oswego County collected $40.5 million in sales tax. Onondaga County collected $306.4 million.

Back in the 1960s, the state passed a law that enabled residents to shop for cars, trucks, certain boats, boat trailers, RVs, and motorcycles anywhere in New York state but allowed the customer’s county of residence to collect the sales tax. This is significant.

For example, if an Onondaga County resident buys a vehicle in another county, the sales tax is collected in the county the resident registers their vehicle.

There is a movement that has caught on across the country dubbed the “Locavore” movement. More consumers are seeking locally grown produce and are searching for more restaurants that serve up local fare. These types of movements make a difference.

More money, as a result, stays in our communities and helps more local businesses and communities. Studies have shown that when people buy produce at a local farmers’ market or community supported agriculture (CSA) program, twice the money stayed in the community.

That means those purchases are twice as effective in terms of keeping the local economy alive.

Other studies estimate that if people of an average American city were to shift just 10% of their spending to local businesses, it would bring millions of additional dollars per year to the community’s economy.

Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse declared November as Buy Local Month. Previously, this was a one-week designation. The hope is designating a whole month will give retail shoppers more time to make an impact on local businesses’ bottom lines.

There are a number of opportunities to buy local. In Oswego County, Cornell Cooperative Extension will host the Oswego County Holiday Farmers Market on Dec. 1 as part of the Christmas in Mexico festivities.

There will be a variety of holiday gifts from local ag producers. It is estimated that the agriculture in Oswego County generates $39.4 million annually in revenue from 639 farms and supplies more than 5,000 jobs.

Local residents can take the Syracuse First pledge. It encourages people to think, buy and be local by redirecting 10 percent of your spending to locally owned, independent businesses.

To learn more, visit or go to

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.

My office can be reached by mail at 200 N.Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.

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