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Sales Tax

Sales tax collections show tourism boost

By Rupert Howell

Sales taxes paid were generally stagnant or down with few exceptions for the Batesville area and surrounding communities for the month of February according to figures of the Mississippi State Tax Commission.

While the total state collections were up four percent for that month, collections are stagnant as for the year-to-date numbers provided by the commission. That tax collected in February, reported and paid to the state in March and diverted to municipalities in April. Those diversions for the month totaled $36,315,146.49.

A seven percent sales tax is collected on each dollar of retail purchased with the state of Mississippi retaining the lion’s share and approximately 18 percent of that total diverted back to the municipality in which it was collected.

The City of Batesville’s share of the sales tax diversion that was paid to the municipality in April was $348,508. Those funds are deposited in the city’s general fund and used to support city government such as police and fire protection and infrastructure purchased and maintained by the city. The city has received $3,130,590.65 since the beginning of the state’s fiscal year which was July 1, 2007. Both the monthly and year-to-date figures show zero change in the amounts collected during last year.

On the other hand, a three-percent tourism and development tax showed a 25 percent increase over the same monthly period last year. Batesville received $76,505 on that tax which is levied on restaurants, hotels and motels. The year-to-date has also increased to $760,208, a 10 percent increase over the corresponding year-to-date. Those funds are used to pay the indebtedness of Batesville Civic Center and for infrastructure development along the I-55 corridor.

Other municipalities in Panola County received sales tax diversion amounts in April for: Como, $26,287.73, a 26 percent increase over the previous year; Courtland, Crenshaw Crowder showed little or no change with diversions in the amount of $1,734.24, $3,986.27 and $1,392.02 respectively.

 Pope’s diversion increased 15 percent over last year at $2,497.61 and Sardis was up four percent at $26,993.20. The City of Sardis year-to-date figures are down to $226,403.56 from $241,218.09.

Charleston’s figures were up slightly to $29,472.95 and year-to-date figures have climbed for $266,557 this time last year to $283,634.56.

To the west, Clarksdale’s retail sales go south with its diversion going to $255,709.49 this year from $258,163.93 last year. Year-to-date figures show a decrease to $2,325,744.64 this year-to-date compared to $2,378,660.99 last year.

To the south, Grenada’s collection headed upward seven percent for the month at $366,218.38 and year-to-date figures indicating a three percent increase.

Oxford continues to show significant increases in retail sales with a diversion amounting to $536,000.88, an increase of 10 percent. Senatobia showed a healthy increase of four percent receiving $181,897.77 but year-to-date figures are down to $1,679,656.82 from $1,720,428.03.

Sales tax figures are a good barometer of retail sales when compared to previous time frames.