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Buying local could help county budget

Kitsap County is in deep financial trouble, exacerbated by the fact that its sales tax revenue cannot be accurately predicted.

Using available data, the county has determined it will collect $2.8 million less in 2009 than in previous years.

It could be more. Or it could be less.

If it is the latter, county government will suffer because its budget is based on projections. If this falls short, Kitsap will need to cut programs, or personnel.

The idea of buying local has become a rallying cry. In simplest terms, buying from a local store brings money into county coffers, while the same purchase in Seattle or Tacoma does not.

In this respect, buying a computer from Best Buy in Silverdale helps the local economy, as opposed to buying the same item from Best Buy in Bellevue.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that shopping choices are restricted to Kitsap County, or that buying online takes food out of local mouths.

Washington recently enacted a streamline tax law, which assures that online merchants charge and distribute sales tax to the correct jurisdiction.

While tax distribution is complicated, there is a simple test as to whether Kitsap County will get sales tax revenue from an online sale: If the company operates in Washington, the locals will get a fair cut.

If consumers have doubts about a company, they can see if they are registered at http://dor.wa.gov/content/doingbusiness.

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