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Texas Sales Tax Collections Stagnating - In The Recovery!

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Before I believe any stories about improving retail sales, I want to see it in actual sales tax collections. Same store sales are one thing, actual taxes collected are another.

Let's take a look at sales tax collections in Texas for some clues. Please consider faint signs of recovery in sales taxes.

Texas collected $1.8 billion in sales taxes last month, essentially the same amount as in May 2009, Comptroller Susan Combs reported Wednesday.

Taking a glass-half-full perspective on the May numbers, Combs said in a statement that the 0.1 percent increase suggested that the long slide for a key source of state revenue during the past year could be over.

"Total sales tax collections have met or exceeded year-ago levels for a second month in a row, following 14 months of decline. This may indicate that a bottom has been reached," Combs said.

Austin and Round Rock are both about 5 percent ahead of last year in sales tax allocations from the state, and San Marcos, the third-biggest area city for sales taxes, is up 2.7 percent. Most area cities had an increase in allocations this month, which reflect sales that occurred in April.

By contrast, the state's larger cities are still running behind year-ago levels. Dallas collections are down 4.6 percent so far, Houston is off 8.3 percent, and San Antonio is down about a half-percent.

Overall, allocations to Texas cities are down 4 percent this year.

The statewide outlook remains in doubt. The Federal Reserve's Beige Book, a periodic look at regional economies, reported Wednesday that retail activity was down in the district that includes Texas.

While Texas is doing "slightly better than the national average," the report said same-store sales growth — the gain at stores open more than a year — would grow by low single-digit percentages this year.

Texas Cities, Population, Ranking, Tax Collections

* Houston: Pop. 2,208,180 - 4th largest US city - Tax collections Down 8.3%

* Dallas: Pop. 1,240,499 - 9th largest US city - Tax collections Down 4.6%

* San Antonio: Pop. 1,328,984 - 7th largest US city - Tax collections Down .5%

The above rankings per 2007 census ratings.

Tax collections in Austin, the state capitol were up. It's not hard to figure out why the difference in relative performance: government bureaucrats are the group least affected by the recession.

Bear in mind that Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio could not beat extremely easy comparisons of a year ago.


Sales Tax Collections Tell the Real Story

In Texas, 14 months into an alleged recovery (with 14 straight months of declining tax collections along the way), Texas is just now "break even" on tax collections in aggregate, with its largest cities still sporting huge declines coupled with 16 months of declining tax collections.

Congratulations Texas, you are now at "break even" just as the economy is poised for another pullback, led by declining home sales and home prices.

This is not suggestive of a strong recovery, indeed it is not suggestive of a recovery at all.

This locked in recovery is looking stronger and stronger.

The sustainable ponzi growth system is locked into a consensual recovery enabling deficits to be maintained for the medium term.

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There is no recovery anywhere in the Western world (a very few exceptions might exist--Norway??). Its the government and VIs trying to shift sentiment but it is not working as people are far more cynical (wise) now than they were thanks to HPC.co.uk et. al. :lol:

Retail sales are bound to decline. We have bought all we can stuff in our overpriced little houses. Even the WC has failed to stimulate big screen TV sales.

Over prodcution, falling consumption/sales, over capacity all spells time for a period of deflating the bubbles.

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