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December 8, 2011

Sales tax revenue on the upswing

Local sales tax revenue for November is following state trends, reflecting not only a rise in latest month allocations, but also year ago figures.

Statewide, sales tax revenue in November was $2.07 billion, up 12.2 percent compared to November 2010. State sales tax revenue has now increased for 20 consecutive months, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs announced Thursday.

“Sales tax revenue in all major economic sectors improved over a years ago,” Combs said. “While sales tax receipts associated with oil  and natural gas production remains the strongest source of growth, there were strong increases from the consumer-driven sectors of retail trade and restaurants.”

The sales tax figures represent sales that occurred in October.

Locally, Jefferson County as a whole reflected a decrease in November sales tax revenue, while South and Mid-County cities saw an increase.

Jefferson County November revenue is $1,543,623 compared to the prior month’s payment of $1,759,207, a decrease of 12.25 percent. Yearly collections were also down by 3.21 percent, from $21,445,420 in 2010 to $$20,755,872 collected in 2011 through November.

While county rates were down, Port Arthur saw a hefty hike. November sales tax revenue was up 29.76 percent, from $839,300 November a year ago to $1,089,080 November 2011.

Port Arthur City Manager Steve Fitzgibbons said the 2010-2011 budget reflected a 3 percent increase in sales tax collections, but so far sales tax revenue shows a 33 percent increase.

Nederland also saw an increase in November sales tax payments, from $249,027 in November 2010  to $309,370 this November, or a 24.23 percent rise.

In Port Neches, sales tax allocations in November rose 9.29 percent, from $83,220 a year ago to $90,959 this November.

The city of Groves saw the smallest increase, from $111,597 a year ago to $112,038 this November, an increase of 0.39 percent.

City Manager D. Sosa attributed the increase to new or expanded businesses and more people moving to town. The city, he said, saw about 30 new commercial water accounts and about 270 new residential accounts this year.

The growth combined with the city’s Shop Groves First campaign is reflected in the sales tax increase, Sosa said.

skoonce@panews.com

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