Christmas shoppers spending more money in December than a year ago apparently helped to boost sales tax proceeds to several area jurisdictions, public officials said.
The higher proceeds show up in sales tax disbursements that Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar reported he is returning this month to taxing entities. The increases range from 1.14% in Marshall to 5.87% in Longview to 47.08% in Gladewater, while Kilgore saw its disbursements fall by 12.08% and Carthage’s return came in 12.64% lower than February 2019.
Gladewater City Manager Ricky Tow said Gladewater’s jump is thanks to residents shopping in the city’s antiques district.
“This is our Christmastime push that we do for our downtown (antiques) district,” Tow said. “And it just shows that the citizens came down and shopped local.”
Gladewater’s sales tax proceeds increased this month to $151,040 from $102,687 a year ago, based on December sales.
Hegar reported he will send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts $1.04 billion in local sales tax allocations for February, 9.4% higher than a year ago.
After seeing proceeds drop 3.19% in January, Gilmer rebounded in February with a $211,044 allocation, up 16.92% from $180,494 a year ago.
More people are going to Gilmer to shop, City Manager Greg Hutson said.
“That is obviously the driver,” he said.
December sales were the driver in Longview, city spokesman Shawn Hara said. The city’s allocation increased by 5.87% to $3.77 million this month from $3.56 million a year ago.
“It’s good news,” Hara said. Referring to December, he said, “It’s a very important month because it is annually the largest single month in the year ... in terms of total dollar amount.”
Hara said the city has experienced some moderate increases, “which is good news for the overall Longview economy.”
While December contains the Christmas shopping season, Kilgore’s proceeds are affected in part by fluctuations in the energy market, City Manager Josh Selleck said. Kilgore’s allocation in February fell to $861,657 from $980,061 a year ago. The drop came after a 18.81% decrease in January.
Selleck said the oil and gas field and other industries in Kilgore account for as much as 70% of the sales tax revenues.
“I think it is right in line with what we are seeing with the economy, oil and gas,” Selleck said. “And it might be a slightly rosier picture than what we are actually seeing.
“We are keeping a very objective perspective of what these numbers mean. We budget for these kinds of fluctuations.”