orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Local News

August 22, 2013

Sales tax revenue on the rise in O.C.

ORANGE — Orange County businesses appeared to have a good month in June as sales tax rebate revenue increased in nearly every community.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs has announced that state sales tax revenue in July was $2.2 billion, up 7.3 percent compared to July 2012. Orange County, as a whole, had an increase of more than $136,000, or 17.90 percent, for the month.

“Texas sales tax revenue has increased for 40 consecutive months,” Combs said. “The retail trade sector bolstered the latest growth in monthly revenue, and collections from the construction and the oil and natural gas sectors continued to show strength.”

The sales tax figures represent monthly sales made in June as well as April, May and June sales by businesses that report tax quarterly.

Combs will send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts their August local sales tax allocations totaling $671 million, up 6.2 percent compared to August 2012.

Six of the seven incorporated cities in Orange County saw increases compared to this time one year ago.

The city of Orange led the way with a smashing 44 percent increase compared to one year ago.

“An adjustment was made this month, after we had a couple of decreases due to negative adjustments in prior months,” said Jay Trahan, director of City of Orange Economic Development. “Two big reasons things are looking better are because of the housing market and the oil and gas industry. Consumer confidence is starting to improve and there is some optimism in the economy.”

Gail English, City of Orange finance director, said the state made an adjustment of approximately $98,000 to the August 2012 sales tax report. Even with that addition, the city of Orange still showed an increase of more than $13,000, or 3.8 percent.

“Those things happen from time to time, so, over time, you tend to see those big increases or decreases adjust and level out,” English said. “Orange is still up 4.46 percent for the year, so things are looking good.”

Rose City had a 43.9 percent increase over this time last year. Pine Forest had a 24 percent increase, while Bridge City experienced a 6.26 percent increase and the city of Vidor had a 4.9 percent increase compared to this time in 2012. West Orange was the only city to experience a decrease, which was approximately $2,000.

All entities, with the exceptions of Pinehurst and West Orange, are ahead of figures for the year-to-date when compared to 2012 figures.

As a whole, Orange County collected $386,132.72 for June, an increase of more than 35 percent over June of 2012. For the year-to-date, the county has collected 3,102,035.66, which is an increase of 19.86 percent compared to the same time last year.

The Commerce Department said recently that retail sales increased 0.2 percent in July from June, according to the Associated Press. Sales had risen 0.6 percent in June from May on a surge in auto sales.

“Core” retail sales, which exclude the volatile auto, gas and building supply categories, rose 0.5 percent in July. It was the biggest such gain since a similar increase in December.

Retail sales are closely watched because they’re the government’s first report each month on consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

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