Sales tax revenue growth slows in March

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 70 views 

Stronger business in Rogers helped to boost regional sale tax revenue for March by 2.7% among the four largest cities reporting.

The revenue growth slowed for the region as a whole after a robust gain in January and slight dip in February collections when compared to their prior-year periods.

Cumulative collections in Rogers, Bentonville, Springdale and Fayetteville totaled $3.968 million in March. The revenue reflects taxes collected by businesses in February and remitted to the state in March, creating a lag in the reporting.

Each of the cities collect 2% sales tax which is split evenly with half going to city budget and half going to the county. This report follows the 1% portion retained by the cities.

Monthly Revenue (March)
Rogers $1,089,713, up 12.35%
Fayetteville  $1,371,829, up 0.09%
Springdale $834,571, up 0.70%
Bentonville $671,902, down 3.24%

“The new normal is for us to fluctuate and we are not sure why.  We are ahead of budget and are ahead when you look at the threes months in total,” said Denise Land, finance director for the city of Bentonville.

For the first three months of this year, Bentonville has socked away $2.686 million, up 3.42% from the prior year. The city is roughly $500,000 ahead of budget this year with the collections already reported.

Rogers continues to lead the area with the largest year-over-year growth as more retail stores have opened. City officials expect May collections will also be up, as the openings of Marshall’s and Home Goods will be reflected in next month’s report. Revenue reported so far in 2013 totals $3.625 million for the city of Rogers, its best start ever. Collections are up 13.25% over a year ago.

Fayetteville reported $4.553 million in sales tax revenue collections this year, which is an increase of $216,641, or 5% above the year-ago period. Finance director Paul Becker says the budget impact for collections this year is up $195,702, or 2.69% ahead of schedule.

Springdale bucked the upward trend for the three months, but held steady with collections of $2.534 million, basically flat against a year ago. Springdale’s collections are also ahead of budget this year.

Local economists say the first quarter was hit and miss as consumers were getting adjusted to higher payroll taxes and waited up to three weeks longer to get tax refunds than in previous years.

Consumer confidence has been mixed over the past month, helped by a recovering real estate market and rising home prices but hindered by unpredictable fuel prices.