For county government, any increase is good news because the county developed its budget for the year using a conservative approach by estimating sales tax revenue equal to last year’s level.
February sales tax revenue totaled more than $5.96 million, an increase of 1.85 percent (or $108,000) compared to February 2016.
Sales tax collections from businesses within the city of Kingsport continue to make up the bulk of all such collections, with nearly $3.68 million of the $5.96 million coming from within the Model City — a decrease of about $86,000 from February 2016.
Businesses inside the city of Bristol generated just over $1.5 million of the $5.96 — an increase of about $120,000 over February 2016.
For the seven-month period since the current fiscal year began, the portion of sales tax collections generated within Kingsport is about $622,000 (2.98 percent) less compared to the same seven-month period a year ago.
The figure for Bristol during the seven-month period represents growth of about $1,021,000 (14.04 percent), compared to a year ago.
Sales tax revenues come back to the localities two months after they are collected by local merchants. December sales tax collections, for example, came back as revenue to Sullivan County, Kingsport, Bristol, Bluff City and Johnson City — as well as to the three school systems in the county — this month.
Sales tax revenues are generated when money is spent on goods and services at businesses throughout the county and its cities.
When a consumer pays sales tax locally, it is sent to the state, which redistributes it to the county and its cities based on the collection site.
Local option sales tax revenues are split 50/50 — with half going to school systems in the county and the other half going to the local government where the collecting business is located.
Every dollar of local option sales taxes collected in Kingsport, for example, generates 50 cents for the county’s three school systems (the money is split based on average daily attendance) and 50 cents for city coffers.
Year-to-date, the countywide total for sales tax revenue is $33.32 million. That represents an increase of nearly $721,000 (or 2.21 percent) from the same period last year.
Where did the $33.32 million in revenue go?
According to the accounting office’s report (some numbers rounded):
• The city of Kingsport’s non-school share of taxes totals $10.13 million, a decrease of $311,048 compared to a year ago.
• The Kingsport school system’s share is $5.32 million, an increase of about $182,000 compared to a year ago.
• The city of Bristol’s non-school share totals nearly $4.15 million, an increase of $510,413 compared to a year ago.
• The Bristol school system’s share totals more than $3.3 million, an increase of $89,394 compared to a year ago.
• Sullivan County’s non-school portion of sales taxes generated outside the cities totals more than $2.1 million, an increase of $179,246 compared to a year ago.
• The Sullivan County school system’s share is $8.03 million, an increase of $89,012 compared to a year ago.