Sales tax collections in area cities take a hit

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK | News-Telegram Managing Editor

July 15, 2007 - Sales tax collections in Sulphur Springs were up ever so slightly this month compared to one year ago, while many nearby municipalities reported declines in retail sales.

The city's sales tax rebates this month came to $336,243.49 this month, up 0.53 percent from one year ago.

The July payment represents 1.5 percent of the 8.25 percent collected in sales taxes in the city. The state receives 6.25 percent while Hopkins County chips off 0.5 percent of the tax rate.

Hopkins County also saw its treasury grow a bit richer this month, with a sales tax rebate of $133,540 that is up 1.94 percent from July 2006. Through the first seven months of 2007, the county has received $929,221, or 4.92 percent more than at the same time last year.

Not faring so well this month was the city of Como, where sales tax rebates were down almost 39 percent from July of last year. Como received a check for $1,386.44, compared to $2,271.58 one year ago. For the first seven months of this year, Como's rebates total $9,522.59, down 17.93 percent from the same point in 2006.

On the flip side is Cumby, which reported a 4.53 percentage point gain to $10,805.92. So far this year, Cumby's sales tax collections are at $73,570.75, up 5.55 percent from one year ago.

In Cooper, sales continued a downward trend. Collections fell 23.57 percent compared to last year, with the city receiving $5,448.33 this July. The town's year-to-date collections are at $48,821.74, down 7.53 percent.

Mount Vernon, however, saw a rare upswing this year. To date, the city's sales tax rebates have totaled $315,916, but that's down 9.48 percent from the same time one year ago. This month saw collections rise 15.42 percent to $45,078.

Another of Sulphur Springs' nearby neighbors, Greenville, received a rebate of $415,751, which is down 3.46 percent compared to July of 2006. For the first seven months of the year, Greenville's sales tax returns are at $3.198 million, up 3.58 percent.

In Rains County, three municipalities — Emory, Point and East Tawakoni — received a combined $69,078 this month, down 8.75 percent from one year ago. Year-to-date collections are virtually unchanged from one year ago at $514,936.

Winnsboro was yet another nearby city to see a decline this month. The town's check from the comptroller's office came to $56,436, down 17.35 percent from July 2006. So far this year, the city has received $472,116 in sales tax rebates, up 10.83 percent.

The decline in sales tax collections, which reflect retail sales in an area, mirrors a recent report from the U.S. government. The Associated Press reported Friday that  retail sales in June had plunged by the sharpest amount in nearly two years. 

The 0.9 percent drop in retail sales was the biggest decline since August 2005, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

Sales of autos, furniture and building supplies all fell, highlighting the economy’s weak spots.

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