Local retailers want level playing field

Posted: Updated:
Brick-and-mortar businesses want a level playing field when competing against online businesses. (Source: CBS 5) Brick-and-mortar businesses want a level playing field when competing against online businesses. (Source: CBS 5)
To attract more career jobs, Jonas McCormick, managing partner of Arizona's Deloitte office, argues that the state needs to convince more big businesses to move their headquarters to Arizona. (Source: CBS 5) To attract more career jobs, Jonas McCormick, managing partner of Arizona's Deloitte office, argues that the state needs to convince more big businesses to move their headquarters to Arizona. (Source: CBS 5)
There are only four Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Arizona. (Source: CBS 5) There are only four Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Arizona. (Source: CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Local retailers say their online competitors have a competitive advantage because there is no city or state sales tax for many online purchases.

"Online retailers need to be paying the same sales tax that brick and mortar does because schools matter. Our roads matter. Our police and fire matter. We need that to be equal," said Cindy Dach, who owns the Valley's two Changing Hands bookstores.

Dach's opinion should matter because small retail businesses like Changing Hands are an economic powerhouse in Arizona. They are also shedding jobs because of online competition.

The retail sales sector employs 67,450 people in the Valley. That is second only to customer service jobs, which employ 69,170, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"We have a proliferation of operations centers, data centers and call centers," said Jonas McCormick, who is the managing partner of Arizona's Deloitte office.

McCormick says those jobs are good, but they are not necessarily careers. To attract more career jobs, he argues that the state needs to convince more big businesses to move their headquarters to Arizona.

"The problem is, as the fifth largest city in the U.S., we only have four Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Arizona," said McCormick.

In comparison, Ohio is home to 25 Fortune 500 companies. Minnesota has 18. Tennessee has 11. Even Oklahoma, with a relatively small population base, has five.

McCormick contends that the number of big companies that call a state home makes a big difference in the number of diverse career jobs in that state.

"You've got bankers, accountants, lawyers and consultants that serve those companies. If those companies aren't here, those service sectors, attorneys, accountants, consultants aren't here either," said McCormick.

[WATCH: Full interview with McCormick]

The challenge is to balance the incentives needed to attract new business to Arizona, with the need to keep homegrown businesses competitive.

[RELATED: Arizona lawmakers pass tax breaks as session ends]

Dach says the government needs to innovate, but so do small businesses. She uses what is normally considered a "disadvantage" in retail as an "advantage."

"We have an advantage of being in a building," said Dach.

Her bookstores regularly hold community events, which bring in shoppers.

"I can bring award-winning authors and famous rock musicians, who will come in and sign books and meet the community and you can't do that online," she said.

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Morgan  LoewMorgan Loew is an investigative reporter at CBS 5 News. His career has taken him to every corner of the state, lots of corners in the United States, and some far-flung corners of the globe.

Click to learn more about Morgan .

Morgan Loew
CBS 5 Investigates

Morgan’s past assignments include covering the invasion of Iraq, human smuggling in Mexico, vigilantes on the border and Sheriff Arpaio in Maricopa County. His reports have appeared or been featured on CBS News, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC and NPR.

Morgan’s peers have recognized his work with 11 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards , two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for investigative reporting, an SPJ First Amendment Award and a commendation from the Humane Society of the United States. Last fall, Morgan was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle, in recognition of 25 years of contribution to the television industry in Arizona.

Morgan is a graduate of the University of Arizona journalism school and Concord Law School. He is the president of the Arizona First Amendment Coalition and teaches media law and TV news reporting at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

When he’s not out looking for the next big news story, Morgan enjoys hiking, camping, cheering for the Arizona Wildcats and spending time with his family at their southern Arizona ranch.

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