Cities in Brown County arenít the only beneficiaries of a sudden surge in sales tax receipts this month. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said that the state collected $1.7 billion in sales tax revenue in June, up 8.4 percent compared to June 2007. Overall, during the past fiscal year, sales tax collections have increased 6.1 percent. The comptroller observed, ďWhile we have seen the national economy slowing, growth in Texas sales tax revenue continues at a steady pace.Ē

Local officials pointed to the fact that the July allocations generally reflect sales from May, the month during which the $150 billion economic stimulus package began showing up in Americansí mailboxes and bank accounts. Friday was the last day for those payments to be made, so if this is the reason for increased sales ó and why wouldnít they? ó cities can be expecting two more months of such a surge.

Fed Chairman Bernard Bernanke said Friday the stimulus has done the job it had been designed to do, and then set the stage for perhaps another round of checks by saying itís too soon to tell whether that will be needed.

But thatís the type of optimism that Americans need to keep the economy rolling, and in places where itís dipped, to get the economy back on track. The negative effect that worry can have on jobs, markets and stock prices has been illustrated repeatedly, even when that worry is not fully justified.

Thatís not to say pressing issues should be ignored, or that economic realities arenít hitting home. Higher prices for energy are soaking up disposable income and boosting the cost of practically every consumer purchase. But evidence persists to show that Texas is riding out the economic storm affecting many other areas of the nation.

Brownwood Bulletin