Released by the Wood County Industrial Commission
(Wood County, TX) –The Wood County monthly state sales tax revenue report, released March 6, reflects Wood County retail sales were $352,504 for January 2013, up 4.4% over the same period last year, and $1.2M year to date, up a nominal 0.61% compared to the same period last year.
Overall, Wood County sales tax receipts for the six cities were $ 252,161 (up 7.94% compared to the same period last year) and at $ 862,759 for year to date, up 5.92% over the same period in 2012. Sales tax receipts for the state have increased 32 consecutive months (year over year), boosted by strong business spending state-wide in the oil/natural gas industries and manufacturing sectors.
Wood County Industrial Commission Executive Director Chana Gail Willis stated, “What we have to look at now, moving forward in the immediate future, are the most recent figures and news being posted. For Wood County, three of the primary industries are tourism, agriculture and oil and gas. With spring approaching in a few weeks, the fishing season and tournaments have kicked off and some of our cities should soon see the benefits on their bottom lines.
Willis continued, “These tax revenue figures are from sales activity six weeks ago, just after the holidays and the temporary fix buying some time for the federal govt. fiscal woes. It is probably best to not fully rely on twelve-month trailing (average) retail sales tax revenue figures as an indication of the capacity of where the economy might move locally or regionally, considering so many factors come into play on the current horizon that can swing consumer sentiment, and hence push purchasing and production in many directions. The numbers are good and solid for most of Wood County cities, with the exception of Hawkins, and any time we see 4%, that’s a good target for retail sales tax revenue growth.”
“Consumer confidence” Willis added, “continues to waver over federal government’s fiscal issues with particular pressure being placed from impacts of the national sequester.” In fact, the state comptroller’s office reports, “The U.S. consumer confidence index was 69.6 in February 2013, up 19.2 percent from January 2013, and 2.8 percent lower than one year ago. The Texas region’s consumer confidence index was 85.9 in February 2013, down 9.9 percent from January 2013, and 4.8 percent lower than one year ago. For example, local level pressures continue to impact consumers, industry and transportation from increases in gasoline prices, up 2.3% over the same period last year. The average price of gasoline most recently posted was $3.73 for regular. For the same reporting month, it was $3.08 in 2011, $2.83 in 2010, $2.46 in 2009, $1.58 in 2008.” The regional railroads are beginning an economic development program to lengthen trains to about 10,000 linear feet in attempts to relieve some pressures of semi truck traffic from local and regional roads.”
Willis stated, “Texas continues to fare much better than the rest of the nation, particularly with population gains, employment stats and building and construction numbers. Texas reported 6,718 building permits for single-family homes issued in January 2013, with 76,937 permits were issued in the preceding 12 months ending in January 2013, a 22% increase over the previous year. Texas also reported 3,992 multi-family building permits issued in January 2013, with 53,295 permits were issued in the preceding 12 months ending in January 2013, a 54% increase over the previous year. Existing home sales decreased 19.5% from the previous month, but were still up more than 24% for the same period in January 2012. In December, the U.S. unemployment rate was 7.8% and Texas unemployment rate was 6.1%. The Wood County unemployment rate was 6.5 for the same period. The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 72 consecutive months.”
Willis concluded, “The climate is somewhat cautionary from a nationally level, but from a local and regionally level, things seem to be fairing well. Wood County communities are paying particularly close attention to the current Texas legislative sessions, legislative and budget news from Washington impacting industry sustainability and consumer pocketbooks. We will always continue to encourage folks to shop local and support their communities on the home front.”