March sales taxes slip; slump eases

Monthly parish sales and use tax collections continue to be lower compared to the same time in 2014, but March’s revenues show less of a decrease than the previous few months, according to the latest report.
In March, sales tax revenues totaled $3.246 million. In March 2014, the parish collected $3.299 million in sales and use tax revenues.
March total revenues were only 1.6 percent lower than March 2014, a smaller decrease in sales tax revenue than the parish has in past several months, St. Mary Parish Sales and Use Tax Director Jeffery LaGrange said.
For the first quarter of the year, total collections are 7 percent below the same period in 2014.
First-quarter sales and use tax revenues totaled $10.859 million. For the first quarter of 2014, total revenues came in at $11,681,797.
LaGrange attributed the low first quarter sales tax revenues to a continued decrease in taxes collected from industry throughout the area, he said.
Sales tax revenues have been down five straight months dating to November 2014. Before that, June 2014 through September 2014 collections were all lower than the prior year’s revenues.
Also in March, hotel sales tax revenues, which brought in $48,642, were down about 16.2 compared to March 2014.
First-quarter hotel tax collections were $143,957, down 10.2 percent from the 2014 first quarter.
Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau Executive Director Carrie Stansbury said March’s big drop off in hotel sales tax revenues is a combination of the oil and gas industry being really slow and possibly that some hotels paid their taxes a little later than usual.
“If that is so, then you would see a spike in the next report,” Stansbury said.
Stansbury believes next month’s report will be somewhat better, but still not great, she said.
Morgan City’s three-tenths road royalty tax brought in $74,491.97 during March bringing the year-to-date and first quarter total to $243,552.
The following occupational licenses were filed in March: city of Morgan City, $200,363; St. Mary Parish, $186,231; city of Franklin, $37,892; town of Berwick, $32,061; city of Patterson, $20,491; and town of Baldwin, $5,202.

This story was written by Zachary Fitzgerald of The Daily Review staff. Reach him at zfitzgerald@daily-review.com.

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