Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Colorado Springs sales tax collections rebound in May

by WAYNE HEILMAN wayneh@gazette.com - Published: June 13, 2014

Colorado Springs sales tax collections rebounded in May with the biggest increase since January after declining in April, the city's Finance Department reported Thursday.

Collections in May were up 2.4 percent from May 2013 to $9.96 million. In April, collections fell 1.5 percent, but the decline was a result of $675,589 in one-time revenue collected from merchant audits. Without the audit revenue in April 2013, sales tax collections from April 2014 would have increased 4.7 percent. Audit revenue played only a small role in the May sales tax numbers.

Sales tax collected in May reflects sales made in April. The May numbers likely were affected by the U.S. Space Foundation holding its Space Symposium in May rather than April because of a major construction project at The Broadmoor hotel, which hosts the event. The symposium attracts 9,000 participants from around the world.

As a result, collections of the city's tax on hotel rooms and rental cars in May fell 6.6 percent from a year earlier to $268,044, the first decline since January.

The city levies a 2 percent sales tax on purchases of motor vehicles, appliances, electronics, furniture, clothing and other items. Those collections make up more than half of the revenue that funds the city budget for police, fire, parks, roads and other uses. Collections from that tax so far this year are up just 0.6 percent to $39.3 million. The city also collects special taxes totaling 0.5 percent that fund public safety, trails, open space and parks that has brought it another $10.5 million this year.

Collections of the city's use tax, which is paid on manufacturing equipment, building materials and other items bought outside the city and used in the city, were down 1.4 percent to $550,394, and have declined for three consecutive months. Use tax collections so far this year are off 5.4 percent to $2.89 million.

Combined sales and tax collections in May were up 2.2 percent from a year earlier to $10.5 million, and so far this year are just $48,783 ahead of a year ago at $42.2 million.

Categories with the biggest gains were commercial machines, up 16 percent; grocery stores, up 14.6 percent, and clothing stores, up 9.8 percent. Collections from auto dealers; furniture, appliance and electronic stores; hotels and motels and miscellaneous retailers all declined.

Collections from medical marijuana businesses were up 12.4 percent to $123,235, the second-highest monthly total after September 2013 at $126,948, and so far this year are up 13.7 percent from a year ago to $476,789.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

Twitter @wayneheilman

Facebook Wayne Heilman

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