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Sales tax revenue up in Longview, Kilgore, other area cities

By Richard Yeakley
June 12, 2013 at 10 p.m.

Longview and Kilgore received some of their best financial news of the year Wednesday with the release of sales tax revenues from April.

The Texas Comptroller's Office reported sales tax revenues up more than 5 percent in Longview and about 6 percent in Kilgore, which has suffered declines in revenues since this past year.

The city of Longview collected $1,608,861,which was up $77,430 from the same month in 2012.

As a whole, Longview is up about 1 percent from fiscal year 2011-12.

"With sales tax, there seems to be these fluctuations that last a few months," said city spokesman Shawn Hara. "But the overall trend when you look at the full fiscal year is one of the big things."

Hara said the city budgeted conservatively, expecting about a 1 percent drop in sales tax revenues, which make up about 33 percent of the city's general fund.

As a result, Longview is about 80 percent toward funding its budget, lacking $4.5 million to make the $19.94 million budgeted, Hara said.

Kilgore, which has seen double-digit percent decreases in sales tax revenue collected each month of 2013 from 2012, broke out of the red with an increase of 6.37 percent.

Kilgore collected $763,225, up from $717,462 the year before.

Kilgore also budgeted conservatively and, despite a decrease of 8.14 percent from fiscal year 2011-12, is on course to make budget.

Across East Texas, cities faired well in April.

Big Sandy, Daingerfield, Hallsville and Lone Star all showed tax revenues more than 30 percent higher than the previous year.

In Gilmer, despite an even 10 percent, or $13,000, drop from April 2012, the city is on par with its 2011-12 year-to-date revenue.

Carthage continued a prolonged drop from this past year with a 7.55 percent decrease. The city has collected 11.18 percent less sales tax revenues this fiscal year than this past year.

Across the state, sales tax revenues rose $556.8 million, according to Comptroller Susan Combs, who said information and construction sectors as well as restaurants showed growth.

The growth brought the state's year to date 8.3 percent higher than the past fiscal year.

The largest increase in Texas came from special purpose taxing districts that rose 13.6 percent from April 2012.



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