REPORT: STATE SALES TAX REFUNDS DROP
By Stephen Singer
State sales tax refunds dropped from November 1994 to November 1995 in 10 Northeast Mississippi municipalities, according to the most recent report by the state Tax Commission.
That is an improvement over October when slowed retail spending accounted for declines in sales tax revenue in 14 of the 27 municipalities monitored monthly by the Daily Journal.
Declines in sales tax refunds were steep in some municipalities.
Refunds dropped in West Point by 15.4 percent, from $94,139 to $79,578. Although December's refund was up, Mayor Kenneth Dill said he was concerned about the November decline.
City officials will meet with representatives of the state tax agency "and analyze where these losses are coming from," he said. City officials have before examined state numbers and found what Dill called a "variance."
"It's tied back to sales made one year and not the next," he said.
Refunds reported Dec. 31 are based on sales taxes collected in November and reported to the Tax Commission in December.
Sales tax refunds in Baldwyn declined by 12.6 percent, from $31,158 to $27,213. Mayor Robert Coggins said the drop was due to delinquent tax payments that have since been made. As a result, December's refund is up by 12.2 percent, he said.
Refunds dropped by 11.1 percent in Verona, to $19,840, and 8.4 percent, to $25,766, in Calhoun City.
Shannon Town Clerk Mary Lee Helms could not account for the 10.2 percent decline. "Maybe someone did not file their report on time," she said.
Refunds in Shannon dropped from $11,917 in November 1994 to $10,697 in November 1995.
But the December sales tax report shows the refund for Shannon is up by $13,025, Helms said.
The majority of the area's municipalities - 17 -posted gains. Corinth received $298,812, 11.4 percent more than in November 1994.
In Plantersville, refunds were up by a similarly large proportion - 10.2 percent.
Tupelo again was the state's second highest recipient of sales tax refunds. The city received $993,776, a 4 percent increase from November 1994.
Jackson, which received $2.9 million, 7.8 percent more than the previous year, was refunded more sales tax than any other municipality in Mississippi.
Mississippi imposes a 7 percent sales tax on most retail goods. The state returns to the municipality 18.5 percent of the amount it collects.
The slightly improved retail sales reflected by the sales tax was demonstrated in sales tax refunded to all municipalities. The state returned $19.7 million, an increase of 3.2 percent over November 1994.
The increase from October 1995 to October 1994 was 2.4 percent.