• 72°

City’s sales tax collections have rebounded, nearly level with 2019

For the second month, Vicksburg’s sales tax collections have exceeded collections for the same period in 2019, showing strength in the local economy following months of shelter-in-place orders and business restrictions.

According to information from the city’s accounting department, Vicksburg’s sales tax reimbursement received in August from the state was $696,845 or $61,053 more than the $635,792 received from the state in 2019 — a 9.6 percent increase over the previous year.

The Mississippi Department of Revenue reimburses Vicksburg 18 percent of the sales tax collected inside the city. Sales tax revenues run two months behind so the present reimbursement is for sales taxes collected in June.

The city’s reimbursement from the state for sales taxes collected in May was $701,860, about $12,587 more than the $689,273 collected in May 2019.

“Because of the emergency, because of because of the virus, they (residents) are shopping at home,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “They’re not buying online; they’re buying local. I’m willing to bet you that most of that money is coming out of restaurants and hotels are coming back.”

The increased sales tax revenue, Flaggs said is proof of what he has said before, “When you shop local, your economy grows and that is the reason why we can take as much as we make.”

Year-to-date the city has received $5.84 million in sales tax revenue, which is less than 1 percent under the $5.88 million total collected by August 2019 with three more months remaining.

The city’s 2020 fiscal budget projected $8.5 million in sales tax revenue for the present fiscal year. Because the tax reimbursements run two months behind, city officials will not have the final revenue total until November, when the reimbursement for the September sales tax collections is received.

Revenue from the city’s 2 percent sales tax on food and beverage purchases and hotel rooms for June was down 8.62 percent, from $204,178 in 2019 to $186,573 in 2020, for a difference of $17,605. Year-to-date, total collections are down from $1.79 million to $1.69 million.

July gaming revenues were down $96,974, from $546,762 in 2019 to $449,788 for 2020. Year-to-date, total gaming revenue was down from $4.56 million to $3.84 million.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

email author More by John