Sales tax $$$ soar skyward
by Jason Collins
Dec 09, 2011 | 2156 views | 2 2 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The above graphic shows the amount over, and under, in sales tax that the county has received each month this year compared to last year.
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BEEVILLE – Sales tax figures continue to climb throughout the area as more and more businesses and people filter from the Eagle Ford Shale.

And, while it would be easy to take the money and spend it as quickly as it arrives, County Judge David Silva offered different advice.

“I am very grateful our share is up,” he said. “The only way we are going to capitalize on that is to hold the line on spending.

“We will never accrue or build up our reserve balance if every time we have money we spend it.”

In Bee County, the amount received for November jumped 34 percent to $118,794 this period from $88,400 during the same time last year.

Year to date, the county has seen a 33 percent increase, rising from $1.076 million last year to $1.432 million this year.

And Bee isn’t alone.

Year to date, the amount paid to Live Oak County jumped 128 percent from $1.086 million last year to $2.480 million this year.

Karnes, as would almost be expected, jumped the most.

The county there saw a 300 percent increase year to date, skyrocketing from $837K last year to $3.390 million this year.

In the city, Beeville also has seen an increase compared to last year at this time.

This period netted $292,489 compared to $209,164 last year, which amounts to a 39.8 percent increase.

So far this year, sales tax rebates have increased 26 percent for the year, rising from $2.692 million last year to $3.399 million.

Across the county line, Three Rivers increased the sales tax for the period by 159 percent, rising from $31,088 last year to $80,656 this year.

George West also increased for the period at 56 percent, rising from $36,644 last year to $57,372 this year.

Back in the heart of the shale drilling, Karnes City saw an increase of 381 percent during that same time period, rising from $12,970 to $62,408.

And those residents weren’t alone.

Kenedy also increased by 71 percent, rising from $63,854 to $109,064.

Statewide, sales tax revenue rose by — what after reading these recent percentages could almost be considered meager — 12 percent compared to last year.

“Sales tax revenue in all major economic sectors improved over a year ago,” Combs said. “While sales tax receipts associated with oil and natural gas production remains the strongest source of growth, there were strong increases from the consumer-driven sectors of retail trade and restaurants.”

Silva said that there is no way to know how long this economic landslide of money will last before it slows to a crawl.

But for now, the area remains in the lucrative stage.

“The ramp up is when you see the greatest activity,” Silva said, pointing to our current stage. “Once it plateaus, you will see less obvious activity.

“You need to be very conservative. Yes, enjoy the money but don’t get into long-term deals.”

He said the county administrators are taking this approach by not spending and building facilities now they won’t be able to afford later — unlike other counties in the area.

“You have to put some away,” he said.

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at
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December 11, 2011
save the excess, the oil and gas plays out, the bills keep coming
December 15, 2011
Tell that to the county employees that haven't had a pay raise or even a cost of living adjustment in a very long time. Better yet, tell it to the employees that got laid off last year because the county was supposedly going to be in the hole. We literally have a mountain of tires in the county because we have no code compliance officer.

We can't even keep clean water flowing in this place because of a decrepit and overburdened water and sewer system. Granted that is a different issue, but it is demonstrative of the overall problem.

This county and city have cried they are broke for over a decade now. Now that we have the money coming in, and it can be done without raising taxes, it's time to get back up to par with infrastructure and services.