Sales taxes lag behind in county; Receipts down 10.8 percent

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, August 29, 2015
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Sales tax receipts in Wise County are collectively 10.8 percent behind for the first six months of the year, according to the August report from the Texas Comptroller.

The August report reflects figures from June. The county’s 12 towns brought in $712,743.57, which was down 5.35 percent from June 2014’s $753,046. For the year, the 12 towns have brought in $5.336 million in sales taxes off their 1.5 percent – down $598,000 from the six-month total in 2014. That represents a drop of $39.8 million in taxable sales for the county.

For the year, only Aurora, Paradise and Runaway Bay are showing gains in sales tax receipts. Paradise has brought in $12,300 more than 2014 – a 15.93 percent growth.

Bridgeport, Chico, New Fairview and Newark have seen double-digit drops in sales taxes through the first half of the year.

Bridgeport’s sales taxes were down 30.41 percent – $70,369 – in June from the previous year to $160,968. For the year, the town’s receipts are off 19.34 percent, or $336,660.30.

“In planning for next year, we are taking that loss into account,” said Bridgeport City Manager Jesica McEachern. “We’ve been looking at how do we resolve that deficit and if we should raise [property] taxes. Our staff has done a wonderful job managing expenses.

“This is the unfortunate part of Bridgeport being tied so heavily to the energy sector.”

The loss in sales taxes represents a loss of $24.4 million in taxable sales in the community. Much of that loss can be attributed to a decline in the local oil business with oil prices at $45 per barrel. Oil was trading at $38 just last week.

“You take away the sales tax part, a lot of businesses are family-owned and need the sales and business,” McEachern said. “When you shop at the mom-and-pop shops, the money is going to be circulated within the community.”

Decatur’s sales taxes are 1.92 percent – $52,791 – behind 2014 at $2.691 million. The city did see a spike in June of 6.37 percent – $23,269 – over the same month in 2014, bringing in $388,471.72, representing $25.898 million in total taxable sales.

Decatur Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Mary Poche was encouraged by the June numbers.

“You never know how they will come in. Sometimes there are spikes because of a comptroller correction,” Poche explained.

Poche said the city continues with its “Look Local” campaign to keep sales tax dollars in the community.

“We try to avoid leakage and let people know they can find an item here,” she said.

Sales Tax

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