Local Economy Appears ‘Steady’

By BOB PALMER
Jimplecute Editor

Despite Jefferson sales tax receipts dipping in the last quarter, Mayor Bubba Haggard took a positive view of the numbers.

“The sales tax appears to be holding steady,” Haggard said. “We may even show a small increase.”

The local economy does appear to have fallen off the growth track from earlier in the year with September receipts down 12 percent.

For the last quarter of the fiscal year, sales tax receipts fell $10,969 for a loss of 5 percent compared to 2017.

The entire fiscal year, October through September, posts a 5.7 percent gain, however, after an adjustment to remove a half-million dollar bonus payment from the state.

Marion County also saw its sales tax receipts fall by 4 percent. The county received $28,000, down from 2017’s $29,000.

Jefferson received $56,700 in the September tax rebate, down from 2017’s $64,600, a 12% decline and significantly lower than the average $3,619 gain per month during the past year.

Local business people had varying views.

“I think it’s okay,” Wayne Rich with NAPA Auto Parts said of the local economy. “No complaints. It’s kind of up and down. Overall, I’ve had a pretty good year.”

“Our economy is based on tourism,” Tommy Engel with Kennedy Manor said. “For a bed and breakfast,  the weather has been pretty hot. We’ll be picking up pretty quick. It does seem like after the Fourth of July until after September business does drop off a little bit.”

Both city and county still show increases in the year-to-date category with Jefferson noting an 88 percent boost to $1 million. Marion County received $448,000, a 78 percent increase. Earlier in 2018, the state corrected an accounting error with a large refund to city and county.

Across the state, cities received an 8 percent increase in funds while counties noted a 14.5 percent gain.

Area cities also posted modest gains. In September Atlanta and Marshall are up 3 percent. Linden improved by 15 percent but remains down 1.6 percent for the year.

The employment picture also reflected a Northeast Texas economy not sharing in the state-wide boom where 32,000 jobs were added in August. The Texas unemployment rate is 3.9 percent. The national unemployment rate is 3.7 percent.

The Longview Small Metropolitan Statistical Area had 4.2 percent unemployment in August, an improvement from 2017 when the rate was 5.1 percent. The Texarkana SMSA was 5 percent in August, up from 4.8 percent last year.

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