July sales tax update: 16.7 percent below budget

Just when you think the news can’t get any worse, it does. The city collected $15.0 million in sales tax in July, which was $3 million less than budgeted. That 16.7 percent shortfall is the second worst this fiscal year. The sales tax chart is here.

For 2008-09, we’re 11.5 percent behind projections. That’s $22.6 million, or more than a month worth of sales tax receipts. In other words, with two months left in the fiscal year, it looks like we’re going to collect about 10 1/2 months worth of sales tax. The total will probably be the least collected since 2004-05.

The sales tax accounts for abut 22 percent of the city general budget; another 43 percent comes from property tax receipts. The official figures are on the state comptroller Web site. The months listed on the site are, for accounting purposes, about two months ahead. That means the September figure on the site is for July, the August figure is for June, and so forth.

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