Shoppers continued their post-holiday buying in February, boosting the coffers of most Northeast Mississippi communities.
Tupelo, the retail hub for Northeast Mississippi, collected $1,480,744 for February, compared to $1,411,618 a year earlier. For the fiscal year to date, the All-America city has collected $13,400,533, compared to $13,338,056 for the same period a year ago.
The sales tax has a three-month cycle. In the first month, the tax is collected by stores, restaurants, hotels and other businesses. In the second month – the figures listed – the tax is reported and paid to the Department of Revenue by the retailer.
The cities then receive the “sales tax diversion” by the Department of revenue in the third month. The cities received these diversions in April.
Of the dozen communities surveyed in Northeast Mississippi, four saw decreases in sales tax collections from a year earlier – Houston, Pontotoc, Saltillo and Starkville.
The money is critical to cities’ operations, which rely heavily on retail sales tax diversions from the state. More than half of Tupelo’s general fund budget comes from sales tax.
In Oxford, the city collected $563,628, compared to $547,809 a year earlier. For the fiscal year, it has collected $5,462,343, compared to $5,130,330 for the same period a year ago.
Statewide collections totaled $33,224,142, a 0.2 percent increase from a year ago. For the fiscal year, collections are running more than $8 million ahead of last year’s pace, to $303,148,268 – a 2.7 percent increase.