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Sales taxes fall for East Texas cities

By Richard Yeakley
June 11, 2015 at 4:03 a.m.

Sales taxes across Gregg County continued to drop in April, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Longview, Kilgore and Gladewater posted their fourth, fifth and sixth consecutive months of decline, respectively, when compared to the previous year.

Across the state, sales tax receipts grew for the 62nd straight month, despite a continued slowdown in the oil and gas industry.

"Sales tax revenue growth was relatively strong, spurred by consumer spending at retail stores and restaurants. Remittances from the construction, wholesale trade and services sectors were also up significantly. Collections from the oil and gas mining sector declined, as was expected, due to the slowdown in drilling," Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said.

Longview's sales tax revenues fell from $2.45 million in April 2014 to $2.39 million in April.

The dip represented a 2.53 percent drop and added to a year that already was bringing in returns lower than the city anticipated.

The city had budgeted for revenues to be about 2 percent higher than the previous year, and returns are 0.18 percent above the previous year.

"You have had the request for everybody to delay discretionary spending," city spokesman Shawn Hara said. "Departments have done that. I think we should be able to weather this portion of it."

When discussing the process of budgeting for the 2015-16 fiscal year last month, City Manager David Willard said he hoped Wednesday's numbers would show the city finding the bottom of the dip.

After 11 straight months of increases throughout most of 2014, Kilgore has fallen for five consecutive months.

Gladewater has seen six months in which sales returns were less than the same month the previous year.

Kilgore's returns fell 13.32 percent from $876,992 the previous year to $760,100.

Gladewater's fell about 7 percent from $81,259 to $75,494.

Carthage, Daingerfield and Lone Star also saw receipts fall 19.84 percent, 4.1 percent and 2.91 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, other area cities posted gains compared with April 2014.

White Oak posted a nearly 40 percent increase climbing from collections of $53,806 to $75,223.

Hallsville's revenues increased about $3,000, 14.7 percent from April 2014's $23,361.

Gilmer increased almost 9 percent, seeing revenues climb from $110,366 to $120,124.



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