The city of Garland is pushing for incentives to attract business after losing sales tax revenue to neighboring cities such as Dallas and Mesquite.
Councilman Larry Jeffus said the less in sales tax the city generates, the less revenue it has to work with for its budget -- which is already shrinking.
"Sales tax is an integral part of our budget," he said. "And right now, the Metroplex is kind of trending upward, but Garland is flat; it's been actually volatile."
Sales tax dollars in Garland have fluctuated between $19 million and $20 million per year since the recession hit in 2007.
The city generated $21.9 million in sales tax in fiscal year 2007-2008, according to city records. But in 2010-2011, Garland only generated $20.2 million.
Angelica Torres said she shops in Mesquite because Garland doesn't have a mall near her home and a nearby Target store shut down.
"They do have shopping centers, but not like Mesquite has," she said. "Mesquite has the mall, then they have the restaurants around ... and Garland doesn't have that."
In Jeffus's district, a Target store closed and the Mervyns department store chain went out of business, leaving Goodwill and Walmart as the options for clothing shopping.
Councilwoman Lori Barnett Dodson she said her district does not have any general grocery stores, so residents buy food in Dallas or Richardson.
"District 6 actually touches Richardson and Dallas, so a lot of the citizens in my district can get to dining shopping options a lot quicker leaving the city," she said.
Dodson said her district has ideal locations for new development, and Jeffus said the city needs to figure out how to bring in new businesses faster.
"It's kind of a double-edged sword, because if you don't have the sales tax revenue, you don't have the offerings. If you don't have the offerings, it's difficult to bring other things in," Jeffus said.
The city has even gone all the way to Taiwan in effort to attract investors.