It could be easy to think that the economy of each of our little towns doesn’t matter a whole lot, especially in the overall scheme of national and international economies.
But that would be very wrong.
Using Kimball as an example (but it applies to all of our local communities), there are more than 800 jobs within the Kimball zip code. That’s more than the total population of Kimball. Let that sit in for a moment. Far more people work here than live here. Our local businesses are important to many more than the sum of our city residents.
Without local jobs, everyone would have to commute – to St. Cloud, Hutchinson, Buffalo, the Twin Cities. That’s fine if it’s your choice, but disastrous if there is no choice to be made.
Many of your friends and neighbors have chosen to work close to home, often for lower wages than in a bigger town. There are many reasons people would choose to do so, including overall quality of life.
School systems are the largest employers in our small towns, but by no means are they the only employers. If you take stock of businesses on main street and beyond, you’ll realize how many small businesses there are. Whether they’re mom-and-pop operations, single-operator shops, or a local business with a few employees, they all add up.
Each person employed locally means payroll taxes that contribute to the state coffers that in turn largely fund our schools, roads, and other infrastructure.
Each place of business means local property taxes that pay for law enforcement, and for city infrastructure including streets and parks.
In Minnesota, commercial (business) properties pay a much higher property tax per capita than do homeowners. The more businesses in town, the lower the tax burden on homeowners in town. The best way to lower your taxes, then, is to keep the local businesses you have, and bring even more to town.
Here in the United States, we are free to shop and make purchases anywhere. A free market system can be a wonderful thing! I urge you to remember the local, small, sometimes struggling enterprises that some say make up 90 percent of American businesses. Support local businesses with your feet (stop in to see them) and your pocket book (spend money with them). That is truly the “American way.”
We are incredibly grateful for the businesses that support our communities and the Tri-County News by advertising here. We are all critical parts of the fabric of our communities. And you, our readers, are our ultimate consumers and supporters. Thank you!