Sales tax off again in February

So much for our one-month respite from woeful sales tax news. Dallas collected 4.2 percent less than budgeted in February, and we’re off the budget projection by 6.9 percent for the year. At this rate, we’ll collect less than $200 million this year, the lowest total since the 2004-2005 fiscal year.

Here is our handy clip and save sales tax chart for the 2009-10 fiscal year. The basics: The sales tax accounts for about 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 that site are, for accounting purposes, about two months ahead, so the April result listed is for February.

One other note: Big events like the NBA all-star game and the Super Bowl are supposed to bring in extra sales tax money, aren’t they? Not really. Dallas collected $14.4 million in sales tax revenue in February 2009 without the all-star game, and $13.8 million in 2010 with the all-star game.

So when you hear that the Super Bowl will bring in an extra $5 million in sales tax money in 2011, allow yourself a giggle. That’s one-third of the total of a typical January. And Dallas exceeds $20 million in sales tax revenue only a couple of times a year — for Christmas, back to school, and occasionally Easter. I have nothing against hosting these events, and they may, in the long run, offer some sort of financial benefit. But they’re not a short-term boost, and anyone who says so hasn’t looked at the numbers.



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