Sales tax leakage survey and future economic sustainability

MEEKER I Readers of this week’s Herald Times will undoubtedly notice a sales tax leakage survey tucked in with their usual newspaper inserts. This survey is the product of Kathryn (Katie) Ann Stewart’s thesis for her master of business administration degree from Colorado Mesa University.
Stewart was raised and born in Meeker and graduated Meeker High School in 2004. She was able to attend college and pursue degrees of higher education largely as a result of local business and community support through scholarships and recommendations. To show her appreciation to the community and to local businesses, she decided to conduct her thesis on a subject which would give back to the community and hopefully improve the quality of life in Meeker. To do this, she listened to local citizens’ concerns about living in Meeker and found that most problems or prolific concerns could be traced to retail leakage in Meeker.
In an attempt to try and fix this issue, Katie chose sales tax leakage, a primary indicator of retail leakage, as her project’s primary focus.
As a requirement of her MBA thesis practicum project — the final step on the path to achieving her MBA — she has been working with the Town of Meeker, the Meeker Chamber of Commerce and Rio Blanco County to improve the area’s sales tax leakage problems.
Sales tax leakage occurs when a consumer spends money on taxable goods outside of an area, therefore removing that taxable income from one area to another. An example of this is purchasing a new TV at Walmart, therefore removing that money from the local economy to an outside economy like Grand Junction or Denver. Occurrences like this are often the result of a business not understanding who their market is and not offering a product that the purchaser wants or at a price the purchaser values. To identify Meeker’s consumer spending habits and demands, Katie must receive at least 350 completed surveys asking Meeker residents and non-residents about their purchasing habits. The results of this survey will provide useful insight for Meeker business owners on how to better address Meeker consumers’ spending needs and demands.
Meeker is awarded all of its portion (3.6 percent of 6.5 percent) of the sales tax revenue collected inside Meeker such as food, auto parts, gifts, etc. Sales tax revenue is vital for the town of Meeker to operate efficiently. To do this, Meeker must collect as large a portion of residents’ sales tax as possible. Sales tax revenue that escapes Meeker decreases Meeker’s overall wealth, much like outsourcing jobs to China does to America. Collected sales tax revenue is typically used in capital projects and improvements in infrastructure such as roads, sewage and much more. Therefore, it should be no surprise that it is in the best interest of those living in Meeker to spend their money locally so the taxes obtained from that sale are used on local projects rather than projects outside the area such as in Grand Junction or Denver.
Please complete this survey. More than just a student’s grade depends upon your completion and submission of this survey. It is completely confidential and anonymous and in no way will the information submitted be traced back to you. The survey is less than 50 questions and although it may seem like a very involved survey, it shouldn’t take much time to fill out. Just do your best to provide accurate information. The more accurate the information you provide, the better local businesses will be able to drive economic growth and sustainability in Meeker.