Colorado Springs sales tax collections get back on track in November

By Rich Laden Published: December 26, 2013 | 3:15 pm 0

City sales tax collections got back on track in November, a month after they had declined for the first time in nearly two years, according to a report from the Colorado Springs Finance Department.

Revenue collected from the city's 2 percent sales tax - levied on items such as motor vehicles, appliances, furniture, clothing and building materials - totaled $10.4 million in November, a 5.5 percent increase over the same month a year ago, the report showed. November revenues are based on sales activity in October.

The November increase came after October revenues dipped 0.07 percent from a year earlier, marking the first drop since December 2011.

Year to date, revenue from the sales totaled nearly $104 million, a 5.7 percent gain over the same period in 2012.

The city's sales tax is a key funding source. Unlike many municipalities where property tax revenue is the biggest revenue source, Colorado Springs' sales and use tax pays for more than half of the city's general fund budget, which includes police and fire protection, and roads.

Sales tax revenue also is an important local economic indicator because it measures consumer spending.

Other highlights of the November sales tax report:

- Sales taxes collected on the purchase of furniture, appliances and electronics jumped 22.4 percent in November over the same month last year, the largest percentage gain among major retail categories where sales taxes are collected.

In other areas, taxes collected on commercial machines rose 20.6 percent; collections from auto dealers and grocery sales each climbed 9.9 percent; and tax revenue from building material sales increased 7.1 percent.

Two retail categories saw year-over-year declines in revenue: Business services fell 5.6 percent and department and discount stores declined 2.4 percent.

- Revenue from the Springs' combined sales and use tax totaled $11.1 million in November, up 5.9 percent from the same month a year ago. The use tax portion of the combined tax is collected on equipment and machinery purchased outside the Springs for use inside the city, and accounts for a relatively small portion of revenue from the overall tax. Year to date, combined sales and use tax revenues totaled $111.3 million, up 6.2 percent over the same period in 2012.

- Revenue from the city's tax on hotel rooms and rental cars was $346,560 in November, a 3.4 percent decline from a year earlier. It was the second straight year-over-year decline in monthly tourism tax revenues. Year to date, however, bed-and-car tax collections of nearly $3.6 million are running 2.9 percent ahead of the same period last year.

- Sales tax revenue generated by the sale of medical marijuana amounted to $116,921 in November, a 19.8 percent increase over the same month last year. Year to date, medical marijuana revenues totaled $1.1 million or a 26 percent increase over the same period in 2012.

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Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228

Twitter @richladen

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