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Sales tax revenues countywide down in April

J. H. Osborne • May 7, 2017 at 6:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Monthly sales tax revenues countywide were down nearly 6 percent in April compared to April 2016, according to a report prepared by Sullivan County’s accounting office.

April sales tax revenue totaled more than $3.72 million, a decrease of 5.84 percent (or about $231,000) compared to April 2016.

Sales tax collections from businesses within the city of Kingsport continue to make up the bulk of revenue, with nearly $2.36 million of the $3.72 million countywide total coming from within the Model City.

Businesses inside the city of Bristol generated about $875,000.

For the nine-month period since the current fiscal year began, the portion of sales tax collections generated within Kingsport is about $620,000 (about 2.4 percent) less compared to the same period a year ago.

The figure for Bristol during the same period represents growth of about $939,000 (about 10.3 percent), compared to a year ago.

Sales tax revenues come back to the localities two months after they are collected by local merchants. February 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 — in April.

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.

Fiscal-year-to-date, the countywide total for sales tax revenue is about $41.2 million. That represents an increase of more than $646,000 (or about 1.7 percent) from the same period last year.

Where did that $41.2 million in revenue go?

To date, according to the accounting office’s report (some numbers rounded):

• The city of Kingsport’s non-school share of taxes totals $12.64 million, a decrease of $310,000 compared to a year ago.

• The Kingsport school system’s share is $6.6 million, an increase of $200,000 compared to a year ago.

• The city of Bristol’s non-school share totals more than $5.04 million, an increase of $469,000 compared to a year ago.

• The Bristol school system’s share totals nearly $4.08 million, an increase of $78,000 compared to a year ago.

• Sullivan County’s non-school portion of sales taxes generated outside the cities totals about $2.57 million, an increase of $178,000 compared to a year ago.

• The Sullivan County school system’s share is $9.9 million, an increase of about $45,000 compared to a year ago.

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