Steve Knight/The Lufkin News
Lufkin city officials on Wednesday launched a new “Love Lufkin” campaign in an effort to encourage local residents and businesses to shop and invest locally.
In a presentation introducing the campaign to business and community leaders at the Pitser Garrison Convention Center, Tara Watson-Watkins, executive
director of the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the new campaign is more than just another shop local program.
The goal of the campaign, she said, is to encourage everyone — residents, businesses, nonprofits and governmental entities — to become partners in the county’s economic development by recirculating money within the community as much as possible.
“I think we need to realize that recirculating the money in Lufkin is the one way to keep property taxes where they need to stay,” Watson-Watkins said. “It’s got to become a movement. It’s got to become part of everyday vocabulary to shop and buy local. Even if you shop local at national retailers like Academy or Walmart or local shops and they don’t have the item, ask them to order it. If you shop online at Academy or Walmart instead of other retailers that have locations locally, we get some of that sales tax. It’s important to remember the impact shopping local can have on our fire and police departments, our streets, our parks and other services the city provides.”
The campaign will also include an educational element with facts and figures that show the advantage of spending money with local businesses over ordering goods and services online.
City Manager Keith Wright explained that every $100 spent on goods in Lufkin generates $8.25 of sales tax. Of that $8.25, after the state and county take their share of $6.25 and 50 cents, respectively, the city receives about $1.50.
Of that $1.50, 3 cents goes to city administration, 82 cents to public safety services, 17 cents goes to street maintenance, 8 cents to parks, 7 cents to Ellen Trout Zoo and 3 cents to the library, which leaves 30 cents for other city services including Main Street, municipal court, engineering, planning and building services.
“We need to understand how sales tax impacts our city when shoppers go online or outside the city,” Wright said. “We need people to shop as much as they can in Lufkin because it helps the city maintain a lower tax rate. It also helps the city grow and expand and pay for increases in costs. Sales tax is important. We’ve lived off of it for the last 30 years, but we need to turn around this idea that shoppers can order online, and it’s easier — they need to realize the impact of what they are doing.”
According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Lufkin has received about $11,929,988 in sales tax allocations so far this year. That’s down about 0.7 percent compared to the same time last year.
Lufkin budget writers anticipated a further 1 percent reduction in sales tax allocations when creating a budget for fiscal year 2018.
Local businesses give back to the community in many different ways, Watson-Watkins said.
“By encouraging local investment, we are supporting local business owners who in turn donate money and time to the many different organizations that help make Angelina County such a wonderful place to live,” she said. “‘Love Lufkin’ is a long-term effort. Education, training and commitment to a shared purpose are all key elements. Change won’t happen overnight, but we can make local residents and businesses more conscious of where they spend their money and more aware of how that spending affects them.”
The “Love Lufkin” campaign will create opportunities for all residents and businesses, both large and small, to get involved, she said.
Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 12:30 am