Rise in sales tax revenues pauses

Cashier Carissa Marceaux hands Ciara Norris her bagged items after a purchase at Skippers Sporting Goods in Morgan City on Thursday.
(The Daily Review Photo by Crystal Thielepape)

By PRESTON GILL pgill@daily-review.com

After three consecutive months of declining collections, revenue from sales and use tax collections for St. Mary Parish is less than the same period last year.
Through the first seven months of the year, the parish has collected about $26,844,000, compared to $26,888,000 through the same period in 2013.
July collections of about $3,794,000, excluding audit collections, dipped 0.3 percent from July 2013 without audit collections.
But, the parish collected about $1,799,000 in taxes through two audits, including a record $1,743,898 from a single audit in July 2013. Including audit collections, the parish collected nearly $5.6 million in July 2013 compared to about $4,079,000 including audits in July 2014.
Jeffery LaGrange, parish Sales and Use Tax Department director, said the last three months have been a leveling in the parish after a spurt of revenue growth started this year when tax collections grew by 13 percent in the first quarter compared to last year’s first quarter.
“We are now seeing collections on par with last year, which is still showing a nice increase over the last couple of years,” LaGrange said. “The next few months will tell the tale of how we end up for the year.”
After posting a double digit first-quarter gain, the growth for the second quarter was 1.4 percent over last year’s second quarter, according to figures compiled by LaGrange. Tax revenue has been declining since May when collections dropped 3 percent, followed by a 2.6 percent drop in June.
Hotel tax collections continue downward with a 7.1 percent drop in July as the parish got $58,970 compared to $63,475 in July 2013.
The decrease was less drastic than June’s drop of 15 percent from 2013.
The Morgan City 0.3 percent road tax yielded $94,929.53 in July. Through the first half of the year, the sales tax for Morgan City road repair collected $615,173.07.
The sales and use tax department retains 5 percent of collections to fund the office before distributions are made.
The following occupational license fees were collected in June: St. Mary Parish, $23,284.97; City of Morgan City, $55; Town of Berwick, $3,225; City of Patterson, $288; City of Franklin, $692.50; and Town of Baldwin, $75.

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