Update: A spokesman for the comptroller’s office called me back last night, and said, yes, we did buy more stuff in May. That’s why the city collected so much more in sales tax than expected. He said the increase in sales was across the board. This may be a sign that sales tax revenue has reached bottom and started back up.
Maybe we don’t have to sell Fair Park after all. Dallas’ May sales tax receipts were 7.5 percent more than budgeted, a whopping $1.1 million more than forecast. That was the biggest increase in almost two years.
In fact, May was the third month in a row that the city didn’t collect less than budgeted, which is the first time that has happened in the two fiscal years that we’ve done the handy sales tax chart.
Still, before we start building more bridges and convention center hotels, a couple of notes. First, we’re still 3.3 percent behind the sale tax budget for 2009-10. Which, obviously, isn’t good. Second, the Dallas year-to-year increase for May far outpaced Texas as a whole, so it may have included some sort of one-off payment. This, while good to have, doesn’t mean that the sale tax numbers have turned around. I have a call in to the comptroller’s office to see what’s going on.
The particulars: The raw numbers are on the state comptroller Web site and are listed about two months ahead, so the figure given for July is money collected in May. The sales tax accounts for about 22 percent of the city general budget; another 43 percent comes from property tax receipts.