New local businesses steady, but spending down - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New local businesses steady, but spending down

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By Len Kiese - bio | email  

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - In the middle of this deep recession you might not think it's a good time to start a business, but some south Georgia entrepreneurs are determined to defy the odds.

The Treasurer Division issues occupational tax certificates for Albany and Dougherty County business owners. Manager Debra Kinson says she's seeing plenty of new business owners coming through, a sign that the slow economy isn't slowing people's dreams.

"I have not noticed a change. I'm a little discouraged to see businesses close but we do tend to see a lot of small businesses coming in at this time but so far there has not been a big change that we see," said Kinson.

Kinson is seeing more home, internet and small retailers coming in as opposed to large companies. Last month, 35 new occupational tax certificates were issued. Already this month, 22 have been issued.

There's more disheartening news when it comes to local spending at existing businesses.  It's way down according to the the latest available sales tax revenue report.

Sales tax revenue comes from your shopping habits whether it's at the grocery store or mall. As of November, figures were down 25-percent compared to the previous November and overall there's a decrease of more than half a million dollars.

"It's not a surprise. We've been watching it very carefully. We were not going down as quickly as some other parts of the country were so we were holding our breath. But now it looks like the recession has arrived to the Southeast as well," said Albany Finance Director Kris Newton.

Newton says the budget process is nearing. If the trend continues, city and county leaders will have to find ways to make up for the shortfall.

She encourages everyone to buy local instead of shopping in other parts of the state.