Sales tax receipts down in NE Texas
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Aug. 12, 2005 -- Sales tax rebates to a majority of Northeast Texas cities and communities continue to decline, according to figures released by the Texas comptroller’s office.

Retail sales in Sulphur Springs continued to lag a fraction of a percentage point behind 2004, according to the most recent figures released by the comptroller, and retail sales figures in Cumby and Como, while ahead of the previous year, were down considerably from July.

In dollars and cents, the city’s 1.25 percent portion of the tax collected on retail sales was down almost $1,000 from last year, when the check totaled more than $396,580. This month’s payment, representing taxes collected in June, was in the amount of $395,626.

For the year, however, the city’s total sales tax rebates are more than 1 percent ahead of 2004.

Perhaps the biggest shock was felt in Cumby, where retail sales have shown dramatic growth for the past 18 months. In the July sales tax report, the community’s sales increase was more than 100 percent over 2004. This month’s check for $9,817 reflected only a 10.5 percent increase over the same month last year.

Cumby’s continued increase in sales tax receipts has been attributed to the legalization of alcoholic beverage sales almost two years ago. Overall, Cumby continues to surpass last year’s numbers by more than 62 percent.

In Como, sales tax collections gained 14 percent over August of 2004. The July report reflected a 20 percent increase from the previous year.

Hopkins County, however, saw an increase in its share of the sales tax pie. The county, which receives a 1 percent tax, received a rebate of $141,266 this month, up 3.54 percent from the $135,434 one year ago. Through the first eight months of this year, the county has collected just over $910,000 in sales tax rebates, up 0.73 from the first eight months of 2004.

Elsewhere around Northeast Texas, Yantis was one of the bright spots, with growth in retail sales of more than 124 percent.

Mount Vernon was in the positive column with an increase of 18.3 percent over last year, followed by Cooper with an increase of more than 14 percent and Pecan Gap with a 12.5 percent improvement in retail sales over a year ago. Winnsboro saw an increase of 2.75 percent in the amount of sales tax coming back into that city.

Many of the larger cities in Northeast Texas were on the other side of the line, including Paris, down 0.87 percent, Greenville down 6.5 percent and Mount Pleasant losing 2.5 percent.

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