Sales tax shows solid growth in Brownwood, Early, Bangs

STEVE NASH steve.nash@brownwoodbulletin.com
Sales tax allocations for June

For the second consecutive month, sales tax allocations showed healthy increases in three of Brown County's four municipalities and a big drop in the county's smallest city.

June allocations are a reflection of April sales.

Positive trend 'difficult to ignore'

Brownwood's June allocation of $550,819 reflected a 19.5 percent increase over last June's $460,828. That number isn't as good as it looks, because it contains a "windfall," Brownwood Finance Director Walter Middleton said. The windfall is the result of one or more audit collections — meaning one or more businesses had underpaid in their sales taxes in previous months — that showed up in the June allocation, Middleton said.

The audit collections totaled $63,425. Without the audit collections, the increase from June 2013 to this June would have been 5.9 percent.

"This is still a very positive number and is a more accurate reflection of current favorable economic conditions locally," Middleton said. "This continues a trend for the fiscal year in which we have seen positive growth in this number seven out of nine months." 

Year-to-date, Brownwood's allocations total $3.23 million, a 6.5 percent increase over last year's $3.03 million.

For the fiscal year, sales tax allocations are up 17.4 percent over the same time last fiscal year. "This bodes well, not only as an indicator of local economic performance, but for assumptions we can make for next year in setting a budget amount," Middleton said.

"We do not want to be too aggressive in making this projection, but the positive trend is difficult to ignore."

'The upswing is continuing'

Early's allocation returned to double-digit growth. The city's June allocation of $89,378 was 12.8 percent higher than June's $79,223. Year-to-date, Early has received $575,972, an 11.9 percent increase over last year's $514,876.

"It's just nice to have it continue," Early City Administrator Ken Thomas said. "The upswing is continuing, and it's kind of an indication people are feeling more confident about the economy and are willing to spend some of their money."

Thomas noted that sales tax allocations had been up and down for a couple of years but lately have been showing "pretty good increases."

Bangs up, Blanket down

In Bangs, the June allocation of $10,306 was 6.3 percent higher than last June's $9,696. Year-to-date, Bangs has received $66,780, a 6.9 percent increase over last year's $$62,453.

Blanket's June allocation of $1,054 was 53 percent lower than last June's $2,241. Year-to-date, Blanket has received $11,411, a 2.4 percent increase over last year's $11,142.

 The total for all four municipalities in June was $651,558, an 18  percent increase over last June's $551,984. Year-to-date, the municipalities have received a total of $3.9 million, a 7.3 percent increase over last year's $3.6 million. 

'All major economic sectors'

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said state sales tax revenue in May — also a reflection of April sales — was $2.45 billion, up 8.5 percent compared to May 2013.

“Sales tax growth was evident across all major economic sectors,” Combs said. “The growth was led by the retail and wholesale trade sectors, the oil and natural gas mining sector, and the services sector. This marks the 50th consecutive month of increased state sales tax revenues, and brings the fiscal year-to-date growth to 5.4 percent.”

Combs is sending cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts their June local sales tax allocations totaling $621.5 million, up 11.6 percent compared to June 2013.