Gregg County cities see tax revenue increase
Jimmy Daniell Isaac
Jan. 11, 2018 at 8 p.m.
Gregg County's holiday shopping season might have had a strong start, but the area's biggest gainer says there's reason to remain cautious.
Kilgore tax revenue almost doubled this month compared to January 2017, according to the state comptroller's office. It led double-digit gains in the county and the city of Longview.
January returns reflect November sales.
Longview revenues increased from $2.338 million in January 2017 to $2.59 million this month — and increase of 10 percent.
It was even better news in the unincorporated areas of Gregg County, including Northeast Longview, Liberty City and Judson, which saw a bump of almost 30 percent — from $1.065 million to $1.383 million.
Revenues in Kilgore were almost as high as the city's peak years, City Manager Josh Selleck said. His city saw an increase of more than 84 percent from January 2017 compared with this month. That translated to an extra $400,000.
But after reviewing details in the report, he discovered that much of the gains came from only one or two major businesses in town.
Selleck is legally bound from identifying the taxpayers, he said.
"When you have a situation like that, with one or two taxpayers representing a large percentage of your total sales tax revenues, it means that your revenues are extremely volatile and need to be treated accordingly," he said.
Because Gregg County commissioners budgeted for negative sales returns this year, the county is getting an unexpected windfall of at least $318,000, said County Judge Bill Stoudt.
"We usually project lower revenues than in the past, and if we come in differently then we'll put it in the savings account," said Stoudt, adding that he's cautiously optimistic hearing into the 2018 budget season.
Selleck said he hopes Kilgore's recent returns indicate a continued positive trend and a sign of more good economic news on the horizon.
"While there is no apparent anomaly based on the summary level data we have received," he said, "we continue to be cautious, as in past months."
Meanwhile, Stoudt believes the Dollar General distribution warehouse— slated to open by mid-2019 and infuse about $700 million into the area economy through 2044 — could bring great dividends beyond the 400 full-time jobs and 50 contractors who will work at the site. He said it will complement what can be seen now across the county's economic landscape.
"All you have to do is drive around and see that there's a lot of construction going on and a lot of new stuff going in," the judge said, "and according to some, this Dollar General thing, that 400 jobs and investment, there are going to be satellite suppliers to that place that are going to be coming to town that no one is even talking about."
January sales tax allocations
|Entity||Jan. 2018||Jan. 2017||% change|
|All Texas cities||$456.8M||$421.4M||8.4%|
Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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