Calling on Selma to support small businesses

Published 8:25 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2013

There appears to be a number of forces all coming together that has small businesses in Selma increasingly worried about the climate in Selma. And, we’re not talking about the increasing temperatures that befall the Deep South each summer.

We’re talking about the business climate in Selma and what is being done to ensure small businesses — those who provide the largest economic impact to our community — are successful.

Earlier this year, the city of Selma rushed through a sales tax increase aimed at providing cost of living pay increases to those who work for the city. This increase came months after the Dallas County Commission was able to rush through a sales tax increase that went to stabilize the Dallas County School System.

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While not coming directly out of their pockets, business owners know increasing sales taxes impact the flow of customers and remove the competitive advantage they had against regional cities where the sales taxes used to be higher.

Then, there was the hiccup of notifying businesses about streets being closed for special marches and ceremonies, directly impacting businesses and preventing some customers from even getting in a business’ door.

It’s not that we completely agreed with the report earlier this year that listed Selma as No. 50 out of 50 business-friendly cities in Alabama, but we’re starting to wonder if the No. 50 ranking might have been a little too high.

For our local economy to succeed, we have to be able to find ways to help out our local, small businesses to be successful. We must find ways to remove the hurdles that prevent their growth and find ways to encourage residents to stay local and shop local.

For all of this to happen, it cannot just be the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce’s job, it must the be job of everyone, including Selma’s mayor, Selma’s City Council and the Dallas County Commission.

It is no longer good enough to say you support the small businesses in Selma and Dallas County, it’s time to start showing it.