KTTU "In Focus," Sunday, 8/28, 10:30 AM & KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," Sunday, 9/4, 7:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Kimber Lanning, Director and Founder, Local First Arizona, and Lisette DeMars, Membership Coordinator, LFA Tucson Office. LFA is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2003 to work to strengthen communities and local economies by supporting, maintaining, and advocating on behalf of locally owned businesses throughout the state of Arizona.

Lanning says there are currently over 2,000 business members statewide.  She says the mission of LFA is to educate citizens, stakeholders, business leaders, and legislators about the significant environmental, economic, and cultural benefits of strong local economies. She says studies have shown that for every $100 spent in a locally owned business, roughly $42 remains in Arizona, while for the same $100 spent in a national chain store, only $13 remains here.

DeMars says for every two jobs national retailers bring to a community, three jobs are lost as a result of local businesses closing down. She says when you shop locally owned businesses, your money is re-circulated over and over and creates up to 75% more tax revenue to our community and state.

Lanning says independent businesses raise the standard of living in the community because they take their profits and buy products and services from other local businesses, thus creating more and more tax revenues needed for the community to thrive.  She says when you shop online with out-of-state companies, it doesn't contribute a dime to the local economy. She says while most on-line retailers do collect the Arizona sales tax, Amazon.com does not, even though it has a 3-million square foot distribution center located near Phoenix.  She says this costs Arizona $200-million annually in lost revenue.