One of the biggest questions of the recently-completed presidential campaign was, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”
With no comment on politics or the four-year perspective, most Wise County cities are indeed better off than last year, at least when it comes to sales tax collections.
State Comptroller Susan Combs released monthly sales tax figures last week. Lost amid the election hoopla was the fact that Texas’ sales tax revenue rose again and is running nearly 8 percent ahead of 2011 as 2012 nears its end.
“The state’s strong growth in sales tax revenue continued to be led by collections from the oil and natural gas-related sectors,” Combs said. “We also saw strong consumer spending drive gains in retail and the restaurant sector.”
With Wise County smack in the middle of that natural-gas economy, most local communities are doing better according to this key economic indicator.
Percentage-wise, Rhome leads the way with a 37 percent gain – nearly $100,000 – over last year. Rhome’s 1.5-cent sales tax brought in 23 percent more in November alone.
Bridgeport is also running bullish in 2012. Although November’s payment was up only 5 percent, the city’s sales tax income for the year is up 25.6 percent – more than $620,000 – from last year to this year.
Rounding out the top five, Chico and New Fairview are both down for the year, Chico by 18 percent and New Fairview a whopping 30 percent. And Decatur, the leader, is just about even compared to last year.
Decatur’s 1.5-cent sales tax brought in $333,819 in November, down just a bit from last year’s $338,255. For the year, the city shows an increase of less than $20,000 in a number that tops $3.5 million – just over a half of percent.
Of the rest, only Boyd (-13 percent) and Lake Bridgeport (-14 percent) are down while Alvord, Newark, Paradise, Runaway Bay and Aurora are all up for the year. The 12 cities as a whole have taken in over $8 million compared to just over $7.5 million last year.
Wise County, which collects a half-cent sales tax to offset property tax increases, had a down month in November (-9 percent) but remains 14.6 percent ahead of last year through 11 months, with $4.6 million in collections.
The November figures represent September sales taxes reported in October, along with quarterly figures for July, August and September.
Across the area, Denton County’s collections were up 12.8 percent through November, while Tarrant County was up 5.27 percent and Parker County was up 8.63 percent. Jack and Montague counties both trailed last year.