Mayor's Minute: August 2017

Recently, in this column, I discussed the impact of the digital economy on the City of Tuscaloosa’s finances. With 68 percent of the City’s revenues coming from gross sales, based on varying studies regarding the impact of online sales, the City is losing between $3.5 million to $7.5 million a year. Since 2010, depending on how conservative you desire to be, the City has lost between $17 million to $35 million in revenue growth.  

Here is the thing, this dynamic will continue to get worse, which is reflected in the downturn of the large-scale retail market.

Knowing this, how do we adjust?  

Over the next five to 10 years, local governments in Alabama will have to make major shifts in tax strategy which will be difficult because it will likely require legislative approval. 

In the meantime, the City of Tuscaloosa will work to expand the experience economy. As you know, for all the conveniences of online shopping, we innately enjoy experiences such as eating out, attending events and convening with friends and co-workers. In other words, we must work to attract more pieces of the experience economy to Tuscaloosa because they are most likely to be sustainable in this new environment.

In next month’s article, I will discuss two major initiatives detailed in our Four Year Plan that would certainly maximize our desire to transition to an experience based economy.

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