Shop local at holiday time

I like many other grandparents have our grandchildren living with us.

I am not seeking response here, just setting the tone for this letter. As such our holidays have been as they were when we were raising our two boys.

Full of work, planning, movement of furniture and working on the various lists…be they food items for menu planning, holiday cards to be written out, (who gets a letter, who gets a note, who just gets a signature), gifts for friends, family and finally that all important list….”this is what I want Santa to bring me”.

As such, my wife and I can find ourselves caught up in seeing the various lists grow in length to the point that we will set them aside and then go back to rework them to fit both the household budget and the square footage we live in.

(Several years ago we got the “boys” the complete micro machine village that was about 30 buildings, a couple hundred feet of connecting track and about a hundred mini sized cars), and within a half hour of setting it up our two dogs took on the roles of Godzilla and Megaton.

As a legislator, along with the others, we set the county budget and for several years in a row we have held the line. Each year we find that we have to look at what is important to everyday needs and what we can cut yet retain the tools, services and programs county residents want, need or insist upon.

Each year, the state passes down more costs to the county level, city level, towns and villages. The sources of revenue from our end are limited. Yet we all recognize that we cannot pass this down in the form of increased property taxes.

It does not work to seek growth, seek investment and commitment from companies to engage with our county if the property tax level is such that we cannot allow them to prosper and hire employees.

After the lists are created, and we have this rough battle plan which includes a semi approved menu, placement of household furniture, wish lists memorized we then start to map out the shopping extravaganza that will take place. (Remember with the price of gas, route strategy is very important).

In a last final step of this process, we will then seek out the routes and destinations that allow us to shop in Oswego County first. Here is the one avenue that holds no discrimination on property value, number of properties you own, size of house, total assessment, etc. You simply keep the sales tax in this county.

So if you shop anywhere in this county, or in the case of the City of Oswego, (who retains its sales tax) the sales tax monies stay local and go to fund programs, roads, security, health and so forth that we all use at one point or another.

The neat thing is that this form of funding is shared by all, not the single source budget line of revenue that comes from property taxes.

I know and fully accept that free enterprise and the excitement of going into other counties for that “shopping experience” is always going to be there and is always going to happen. All I ask is that as you put these lists together for your holidays take the extra few minutes to plan out a SHOP LOCAL FIRST day.

Why? Simply put….I DO NOT want more money to spend, I WANT the responsibly of financing government to be equitable.

Pat, (my wife) and I wish you the very best for the holidays and look forward to bumping into you or behind you at a check out line at a business somewhere in Oswego County.

James Karasek

Oswego County Legislator

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