Jonesboro, Craighead County sales tax revenues see small increase in November

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 127 views 

Terry Hays said Monday that the last week or so his business in Jonesboro has been open, the crowds have been really good. Hays, a co-owner of Hays Clothing, said the business has drawn customers from Arkansas as well as nearby Missouri.

The business has everything from hunting accessories to fashion clothing and boots, Hays said.

“We expect a good Christmas. We will meet all expectations and it has been an awesome week,” Hays said.

Craighead County and Jonesboro officials are also hoping for a good December and Christmas season as both saw small increases in sales tax revenues in the November report.

The Craighead County one-cent sales tax brought in $1.532 million in November, up 0.69% compared to the same time in 2014. The city of Jonesboro’s one-cent sales tax brought in $1.362 million in November, up 0.72% from the same time in 2014. Revenue in the November report is from taxable sales in September that is remitted to the state in October and sent to cities and counties in November.

Craighead County Treasurer Terry McNatt said while the growth was small, the amount collected in November was the largest amount collected for a November since 2008 when $1.657 million was brought into the county coffers.

“It is not a lot but it is forward progress,” McNatt said of the November numbers, which actually show collections for September 2015. “December’s numbers will tell the tale.”

Jonesboro Deputy Finance Director Mike Burroughs agreed, saying that “if it’s positive, it’s good.” However, Burroughs said sales tax revenues, which makes up about 70% of the city’s budget, are sometimes hard to budget and hard to figure on. Burroughs and McNatt said their offices attempt to budget conservatively and consider fluctuations in sales tax revenues.

Typically, sales tax revenues are collected and received on a two-month delay adding to officials waiting to see if an increase or decrease is a trend. Burroughs said the city budgeted for only a 2% increase in 2015, while McNatt said he tries to budget about a 1.5% increase each year. Both also said they expect their 2015 numbers could exceed the amounts collected in 2014.

Year-to-date, Craighead County has collected $16.2 million in sales taxes up 2.69%, while Jonesboro has collected $15.1 million up 4.28% from last year. Jonesboro brought in $15.88 million in 2014, while Craighead County brought in $17.57 million last year.

The recent numbers for both Craighead County and Jonesboro include:

Burroughs said reports on holiday shopping trends suggest that online shopping was up during Black Friday while in-store shopping was down. But McNatt and Burroughs are optimistic about Christmas shopping this year in Northeast Arkansas. Jonesboro and Craighead County saw increases in sales tax revenue last December, compared to 2014.

Craighead County brought in roughly $1.9 million in February 2015 – which represents December commerce – which was up nearly $300,000 compared to the same time in 2014. Jonesboro brought in $1.7 million in February 2015, up nearly $200,000 in the same time in 2014.

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY ONE-CENT SALES TAX
2014: $17.57 million
2013: $17.111 million
2012: $16.669 million
2011: $16.155 million

JONESBORO ONE-CENT SALES TAX
2014: $15.88 million
2013: $15.371 million
2012: $15.022 million
2011: $14.532 million