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For the first time in about two years, consumers enabled the City of Mineral Wells to realize a double-digit gain in sales taxes.

The city's sales tax collections received in August were 10 percent higher than its August 2009 sales tax revenues. The city levies a 1.5 cent tax on retail sales.

The August checks reflect taxable sales made in June and reported to the state in July.

The positive August collections also reflected the first consecutive months of gains in two years.

For the year since January, Mineral Wells' sales tax receipts are running 1.59 percent ahead of the same eight-month period last year.

Several other area cities also saw significant gains in the August sales tax checks. Gordon's August check was 24 percent over its August 2009 allocation, While Strawn saw a 17 percent gain. Millsap and Palo Pinto County also saw higher sales tax collections last month comparatively.

The August checks did not bring good news to Graford and Mingus, which were sharply below their respective August 2009 collections.

On the year, Gordon and Millsap are the only entities with Mineral Wells to show increases in sales tax collections compared to last year.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said statewide sales tax revenue in July totaled $1.69 billion, up 2.2 percent compared to one year ago.

“Total monthly sales tax revenue has now exceeded year-ago levels for the last four months,” Combs said. “Sales tax collections in major sectors such as retail trade, the oil and natural gas industry and construction are up from a year ago. We are monitoring these sectors to see if collections are returning to consistent growth.”

In the U.S., Americans are spending a little more this summer, but hardly enough to rejuvenate the weakening economy.

What is needed is a bigger boost in salaries and more jobs. Economists don't see either coming this year, which is why the economy is likely to limp along.

Still, modest gains in spending were a welcome sign after a string of economic reports last week raised fears of the country slipping back into a recession.

"The consumer hasn't taken the economy back into recession," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. "The consumer is still moving forward but they are doing it at a very modest pace."

Consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in July, with much of the strength coming from increased demand for autos, the Commerce Department reported Monday. It was the best showing since March, but it followed three lackluster months when spending was essentially flat.

Americans did earn a little more in July after seeing their incomes unchanged in June. Still, the 0.2 percent increase was mostly the result of small wage and salary gains that fell far below increases seen in more robust economic recoveries, economists said. And some of the gains came from a jump in Social Security payments.

Without job growth, consumers are not expected to spend much more. But the economy is growing too slowly to support sustained hiring and companies are waiting to see more demand from consumers. That has left the economy stuck in limbo.

Last week the government reported that the economy grew at an anemic 1.6 percent rate in the April-to-June quarter and sales of previously occupied homes fell last month to the lowest level in 15 years. A private-sector report also noted that Americans bought new homes at the weakest pace in nearly half a century.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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