Texas Sales Tax Still Sees Gains

Despite all the talk of dismal retail sales — terrible interest rates and lack of consumer confidence — Texas sales tax revenues are up.
The state comptroller’s office shows the numbers are higher than this time last year. Laurie Johnson has more.

Comptroller Susan Combs released numbers today that show the sales tax revenue was up 2 percent last month, compared to December of 2007.

That’s a bit surprising, considering the poor results of the holiday shopping season.

Combs Spokesman RJ DeSilva says sales tax is the largest source of tax revenue for the state.

“There has been growth that we’ve been seeing over the past several years. Certainly what we’re seeing now, the growth rate is a little bit lower than what we’ve seen in the past.”

DeSilva says the growth rate now is about 2 percent or so. That’s compared to say 10 or 12 percent a few years ago. But it’s still growth rather than a decline. Of course retail and contruction revenues are down, among other things.

“Motor vehicle sales tax is a separate tax. And what we’ve noticed in the motor vehicle sales tax here in Texas is that it has been down for ten straight months compared to the similar months from a year ago. So that’s an indication out there of the consumer cautiousness that’s out there in Texas.”

Not counting the motor vehicle sales tax, Texas collected $1.86 billion in sales tax revenue last month.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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