State comptroller: Gainesville sales tax down

Tara Godi, owner of The Twisted Hanger in downtown Gainesville, cleans her business’s windows Wednesday, March 24. The city has budgeted about $5 million in collections this year from sales taxes at businesses like Godi’s.

Gainesville’s sales tax allocation this month is down 11.54% compared to last March’s reimbursements, according to recently released data from Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s office.

The city’s payment for March, which is based off sales made in January by businesses that report tax monthly, is shown to be $497,546, according to information on Hegar’s website. The city’s allocation for March 2020 was $562,514.

Sales taxes March 2021

Municipality Rate Net payment March ‘21 Net payment March ‘20 % change Payments year to date ‘21 Payments year to date ‘20 % change
Gainesville 1.5% $497,546.21 $562,513.88 -11.54% $1,691,750.54 $1,912,843.13 -11.55%
Lindsay 1.5% $11,866.00 $11,083.76 7.05% $39,960.50 $47,801.17 -16.40%
Muenster 1.5% $41,609.43 $44,482.35 -6.45% $144,369.31 $136,153.10 6.03%
Oak Ridge 1.5% $9,860.46 $7,068.96 39.48% $35,184.97 $21,947.36 60.31%
Valley View 1.5% $17,042.13 $16,044.12 6.22% $58,081.70 $49,057.78 18.39%
Cooke County 1.5% $239,143.21 $248,744.83 -3.86% $810,545.19 $810,258.29 0.03%

City Manager Barry Sullivan said the city saw a slight increase in its allocation compared to what was budgeted. However, the payment is still lower than last year, he said.

The city budgeted $372,960 for the month, according to Sullivan. It received $418,574, he said.

Numbers from the city are different because the state’s tallies always include the Gainesville Economic Development Corp.’s portion of the sales tax, Sullivan said.

The GEDC collects a quarter of a cent of the city’s sales tax each month, according to a previous Register report. Sales tax reimbursements makes up the majority of the GEDC’s revenue, the report indicated.

The city budgeted about $5 million in sales tax collections for its fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, an archived Register report shows. The state reports sales tax allocations by the calendar year.

Are area businesses seeing any uptick in sales with any of the stimulus checks individuals have received from the federal government?

“It's very hard to say as of today if there has been an increase in consumer spending as a result of the payments because we don't have any data to reflect that yet,” said GEDC Executive Director Audrey Schroyer in an email interview with the Register on Wednesday, March 24.

Earlier this month, President Joseph “Joe” Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, into law. Part of the bill provided families with a combined income of less than $150,000 with a $1,400 stimulus payment per family member. Taxpayers filing as single or head of household were to benefit if they make less than $75,000. The payments phase out as income goes up.

March’s stimulus was the third set of direct payments to taxpayers authorized by the federal government since the beginning of the pandemic. While Schroyer said some people may be paying down debt or investing their money, she does believe the stimulus funds “will boost the economy over time.”

And spending money locally is key, Schroyer said.

“Sales tax revenue, which is generated by local spending, is collected by the city and then gets funneled back into the community through various projects,” she said. “Even just spending $10 here in Gainesville instead of Denton or DFW can make an impact and now more than ever it's important to eat at your local restaurants and food trucks, shop with your local retailers, interact with local vendors and attend community events.”

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