OUR VIEW: Shopping local more important than ever

With the tax exemption limits for cross-border shoppers set to rise in June, the shop local drum must be banged again.

The concept of supporting local business is nothing new to Grand Forks.

The phrase is used not only by business owners and the regional chamber but The Gazette has talked extensively about it as well.

But once again, the shop local drum must be beat as Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and the Federal Conservative government has increased the amount of tax exemptions in the recent budget.

Beginning in June, Canadians heading across the border for more than 24 hours and less than 48 will be able to return with $200 of tax-exempt goods – the amount was previously $50.

Canadians in the U.S. for 48 hours or more will see the amount they are able to bring back upped from $400 to $800 and Canadians in the States for more than a week will be able to bring $800 worth of items, which is an increase of $50 from the previous amount.

Seeing as Grand Forks is very close to a number of border crossings – the Carson/Danville crossing and the Cascade/Laurier crossing near Christina Lake – some local business owners are justifiably concerned.

It seems the cost of everything is on the rise – another rise in the price of gas is expected for the summer, according to reports – and many are having trouble keeping pace.

The federal government may have made it more attractive financially to shop across the border with the rise in exemptions but it’s vital that people stay in the area to shop.

While gas might be cheaper across the line, you still waste fuel and increase your carbon footprint if you head across the border; besides, depending on where you go, you might actually be spending more on gas just to save money on groceries.

It is a circle of life of sorts when you spend your money and shop locally.

You spend money, businesses can afford to keep their businesses running and buy business-related items locally and everyone benefits.

Shopping across the border might seem attractive, especially with the recent increases in exemptions introduced by the federal government, as people can now bring back more but in the long run, local businesses will be hurt and some may be forced out of business.

The more that happens, the closer Grand Forks will come to a ghost town and there’s nothing attractive about that.

– Grand Forks Gazette

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