Victoria's sales tax revenues climb, indicating economic rebound

Brian Cuaron

May 21, 2011 at 12:21 a.m.
Updated May 22, 2011 at 12:22 a.m.

The city of Victoria should have more money in next year's budget, thanks to an increase in sales tax revenue.

Victoria's revenue has increased about $1.6 million compared to revenue this time last year, according to figures released by the Texas Comptroller's office. In fact, the revenue collected so far this year is $500,312.80 more than what was collected by this time in 2008, which is when the decline in tax revenue began.

The state overall has had an increase in sales tax revenue for 13 consecutive months, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said in a news release. However, a spokesman said Texas has not reached the sales tax revenue level it had in 2007 and 2008.

"Back in those years the state was going through a huge economic boom," comptroller spokesman R.J. DeSilva said. "But we're doing better than we've been doing for the last year or two."

The reason for the increase is more business spending in the oil and gas sectors, and more retail spending by consumers, according to the news release.

While the city is collecting more revenue now, it won't feel its impact until the next fiscal year, said Gilbert P. Reyna Jr., city of Victoria chief financial officer. That begins after city staff members propose a budget to the city council on Aug. 2. with budget workshops scheduled before that date.

The city's fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

While sales tax revenue is going up, though, property taxes remain stagnant, Reyna said. Yet he said the increased sales tax revenue, which is now the biggest moneymaker for the city, will help offset fuel, personnel and other municipal costs.

Meanwhile, Victoria County has had a sales tax revenue increase of $786,669.06 compared to this time last year. It also has an increase of $387,119.10 compared to this time in 2008.

Marvin O'Neill, a manager at Melvin's Menswear in Victoria for 35 years, said sales slowly have been increasing during the past year.

In his years, he has seen the economy dip in the '80s and again when the recent recession started.

"It's better than it was this time last year," said O'Neill. "Business is good. It'll get great in the future."

O'Neill said he expects to see sales gradually climb at Melvin's and at other businesses as the local economy continues to strengthen.

O'Neill said the improving national economy, the region's Eagle Ford Shale development and the construction of Victoria's Caterpillar plant have customers less wary of spending money.

"Just run your business, and you're going to be OK," he said.

Reporter J.R. Ortega contributed to this report.



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