Sales tax receipts dip in October

By Jane Hill

Daily Journal

A slowdown in retail spending was reflected in declines in sales tax revenue collections for Northeast Mississippi municipalities for the month of October 1995, according to the latest report from the Mississippi State Tax Commission.

Of the 27 municipalities monitored each month by the Daily Journal, more than half - 14 cities - showed an actual decrease in the amount of revenue generated through sales tax collected within their borders.

Most increases were small to modest with Saltillo showing the only dramatic increase in revenues over the same month in 1994 with a 28.8 percent increase.

West Point showed the largest dip in revenues over the same month in 1994 with a 15.2 percent drop.

Refunds sent to the cities in December were based on sales taxes collected in October and reported to the Tax Commission in November.

A 7 percent sales tax is collected on most retail items in Mississippi. A total of 18.5 percent of that tax is returned to the municipality in which the sale was made. The remainder is kept by the state.

The Tax Commission returned a total of $19.2 million to cities and towns across the state in the month of November, a 2.4 percent increase over the amount returned to municipalities in November 1994.

That small rate of growth, compared to a 9.2 percent increase in the previous month, show that the drop or slowdown in sales tax collections was common across the state.

Jackson received the largest return of $2.6 million. Tupelo was second in the state with $965,102 in receipts, followed by Gulfport with $912,597.

Tupelo's sales tax revenue was down from the $1 million the city received in September, but showed a 3.4 percent increase in the amount the city received in October 1994.

The slow rate of growth for the city in October could reflect both a slowdown in retail sales and a smaller number of special events and activities in the city for that month. October also is the month that sees a seasonal drop in the number of tourists and visitors to the area.

A sharp decline in Okolona's collections, 12.1 percent, came after a month of strong growth in which the city enjoyed an 18 percent increase in sales tax receipts. Okolona city officials could not be reached for comment on the reasons for the decline.

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