Sales tax money leaving town
Wednesday night, close to 100 Eudora residents and community leaders gathered at Eudora High School to discuss the future of their town. Their goal was to take the first step toward some long-term goals regarding what type of community Eudora will eventually become.
We commend those who organized and participated in the public forum. Such vision is necessary for any type of managed growth to occur.
As we keep our eye on the future, however, we must also take care of the present. According to one economist, Eudora has a problem that is much more immediate and could prove costly for years to come.
Eudora residents are hopping on K-10 and taking their retail dollars to surrounding communities.
Economist Dave Darling of the Kansas State Research and Extension office says the city of Eudora is collecting about a third of the sales tax it should based on what he calls the town's pull factor.
The pull factor measures the strength of local retail economies. A pull factor of one indicates a city is attracting as much retail business as it is losing to other communities. A factor of less than one means a city is losing more of its own local shoppers to other communities than it is attracting from non-residents.
Eudora has a pull factor of .33.
We must offer residents viable alternatives to shopping in Lawrence, Olathe and Kansas City. To that end, the city must attract service businesses, which Darling says keeps locals at home. The city also needs retail businesses such as a general merchandise store, clothing stores and additional medical care.
The bulk of that responsibility falls to the city and the chamber of commerce, but Eudora residents must do their part as well. When at all possible, shop locally. Let city officials know what you think Eudora is missing.
Remember, every tax dollar that leaves town must be collected elsewhere and that means higher property taxes and diminished funding for infrastructure and other long-term projects.