Consumer confidence has cooled in Henderson, with March 2013 collections up only .64 percent compared to this time last year, according to the new statewide sales tax summary from the Texas Comptroller’s Office.
This month the City of Henderson’s sales tax rebate check from the state will amount to $335,705 compared to $333,564 for the same period in 2012.
While the increase is not as dramatic as previous months, Henderson city manager Mike Barrow said these numbers are still positive indicators for the local economy.
“Yeah, it has leveled out a bit, just as we thought it would,” he said. “I have had some good conversations this past week with owners/operators from the oil and gas sector doing work in the area and understand that there is still good activity just outside of town.”
Barrow also noted that this may only be a 0.64 percent increase compared to March 2012, but it is still up 14.8 percent compared to March 2011.
“I see some business activity on the horizon that may help out starting about July and August, if all else holds good,” he said. “We are all going to be effected by oil and gas activity with larger municipalities being able to absorb those fluctuations.”
Barrow pointed out that Carthage and Center areas have lost quite a bit of sales tax in the past two years.
“Jacksonville is holding steady, Palestine has dropped off some, and Kilgore dropping 14 percent compared to March 2012,” he said. “I often talk about our regional economy being so important and looking at Longview and Tyler both up is good to see.”
Leading up to the first part of 2013, sales tax receipts in Henderson have consistently scored at or near double-digit increases since February 2012, when legal beer and wine sales went into effect in the city.
Rusk County as a whole received $384,162, a 0.28 percent increase from March 2012’s total of $383,059. The small, rural community of Reklaw in particular posted impressive numbers, with a 113 percent improvement to $400 from $157.
Henderson’s monthly increase was the median between other Rusk County cities — with Tatum and Mount Enterprise reporting negative sales tax growth, while Reklaw and Overton reported an increase in March.
Other than Reklaw, Overton improved the most out of all Rusk County communities, earning $21,555 in sales tax revenue for an 8.4 percent increase compared to last year’s total of 19,883.
Mount Enterprise pulled in $8,112, 13.7 percent less than in March 2012. Tatum returned $118,388, or 8.3 percent less than for this time last year.
Locally, Henderson levies the maximum-allowed rate of 2 percent, Tatum is at 1.75 percent, Overton and Mount Enterprise are at 1.5 percent and Reklaw levies at 1 percent.
Among area cities of comparable size, Henderson is between Kilgore and Mount Pleasant after several months of out-pacing both.
Kilgore was down 14.6 percent compared to a year ago, with Mount Pleasant posting a 10.99 percent increase for the month.
Tyler reported collections of $2.8 million for the month, up 8.1 percent compared to 2012, while Longview reported collections of $2.3 million for the month, up 8.4 percent.
Both Longview and Tyler levy a 1.5 percent sales tax.
State numbers indicate an upward trend in sales tax revenue with February’s overall collections rising more than 3 percent compared to the previous year.
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said state sales tax revenue in February was $2.08 billion, up 3.7 percent compared to February 2012.
“Sales tax revenues continue to grow, but at a more moderate pace compared to recent months,” Combs said. “The latest increase was led by receipts from the construction and restaurant sectors. Collections from other major sectors such as oil and natural gas-related businesses and manufacturing remain at high levels.”
Combs will send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts their March local sales tax allocations totaling $531.3 million, up 12.2 percent compared to March 2012.
The sales tax figures represent January sales reported by monthly tax filers as well as sales by businesses that report tax on a quarterly or annual basis.