• August 20, 2014

Local sales tax rebates continue to rise

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Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 9:14 pm, Sat Aug 3, 2013.

Last month’s sales tax numbers are in, and growth ranged from tepid to robust in the Killeen-Fort Hood area.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said Wednesday that state sales tax revenue in February was $2.08 billion, up 3.7 percent compared to February 2012.

Combs will send cities, counties, transit systems and other taxing districts their March local sales tax allocations totaling $531.3 million, up 12.2 percent compared to March 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.”

Killeen will collect $1.43 million, up from $1.39 million in March 2012, an increase of 2.69 percent. Harker Heights will collect about $357,000, up from $353,600 in 2011, an increase of nearly 1 percent.

Copperas Cove jumped from nearly $269,600 in 2012 to $291,880 in 2012, an increase of 8.26 percent. For the year so far, Copperas Cove is up 9.91 percent.

Polo Enriquez, executive director of the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation, does not think Cove’s numbers are an aberration.

“Anything approaching 10 percent is quite a jump,” Enriquez said. “It seems to be a trend. We have seen an increase every month for the last couple of years.”

Enriquez believed the strong early showing in 2013 is a sign of things to come.

“With the recent opening of H-E-B Plus and other stores in the new shopping center and other businesses emerging along 190, I truly believe we’re going to enjoy a really good sales tax year this calendar year,” Enriquez said.

Harker Heights City Manager Steve Carpenter said slow numbers from a single month do not necessarily represent a step backward for a city. He said many factors could skew such a small sample size.

“Part of it could be when people actually pay,” he said. “People use different payment plans, and this can make a big impact on the percentage growth (from a single month).”

Carpenter is confident Heights is on pace to hit its projected tax revenues for 2013.

“We are only budgeted for between 2 and 3 percent growth this year,” he said. “I think we will still make that.”

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