August sales taxes down after big rise in July

By The Mercury

August sales tax receipts reversed a July boomlet and resumed a pattern of retreat that has generally held through 2013.

Data made public by city officials Thursday showed that the city received $848,704 in sales tax receipts during the month, about $30,000 less than was received during the same month a year ago. The decline from 2012 was the sixth during the eight months thus far in 2013.

Sales tax receipts reported by the city in August generally reflect purchasing activity during June, the two-month lag reflecting the time it takes for receipts to be transmitted by merchants and processed by the state.

The two exceptions to the general 2013 pattern of decline occurred in April and then in July, when receipts were $944,309, more than $100,000 above 2012 totals for the same month.

The July gain was so great that despite the general decline, receipts for the year are only 1.9 percent below the pace through the first eight months of 2012.

City finance director Bernie Hayen characterized the results as a “mixed bag,”  noting that despite the decline from 2012, numbers remain about $500,000 ahead of 2011. That could suggest that 2012 was simply an especially strong year.

“Grocery sales across the community remain strong—about 12 percent ahead of the same period a year ago,” he said. Hayen said some auto dealerships and major retailers were up a little, while others had declined.

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