The full effect on municipal budgets from lost sales tax revenue won’t be seen until June, but payments to cities were already down 7.3 percent compared to last year according to state Department of Revenue records.
Eleven cities, led by Jackson with $431,000 less sales tax revenue than in March 2019, had their collections drop by $100,000 or more.
Not every municipality lost sales tax revenue, as more than half of cities showed an increase compared to last year.
The state collects a 7 percent sales tax and sends 18 percent of it to the municipality where it was collected. The reporting works on a three-month cycle, in which the retailer collects the tax at the point of sale in the first month, sends it to the state in the second and receives its share of the revenue in the third month.
The monthly DOR report is for the second stage where the DOR collects the sales tax before disbursing to municipalities.
This means that the tax implications for April, when the statewide economic shutdown related to COVID-19 entered its first full month, won’t be known until next month’s report.
Sales tax revenue collected for March, according to the monthly revenue report, was already down by $12 million from the same time last year. That is a 6.25 percent decrease.
It was even worse for the state’s biggest municipalities. Cities receiving $400,000 or more in monthly sales tax revenues saw an average reduction of 8.3 percent compared with the same time last year.
Federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was passed in March by Congress can’t be used to fill these budgetary holes, except for direct costs incurred with mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some cities are more dependent on sales tax revenue than others. Among the state’s largest cities, Tupelo is the most dependent on sales tax revenue, with 58.2 percent of its revenues coming from that source. Hattiesburg (46.1 percent) is second in terms of a percent of its city revenues coming from the sales tax and Pearl (43.88) is third.
Jackson is the state’s biggest city and receives the biggest monthly diversion of sales tax in the state. Its sales tax diversion was down more than $431,000 from the same time last year (20.3 percent reduction).
The worst affected city was Biloxi, which had its April diversion reduced by more than $370,000 or a 45.43 percent drop from the same time last year. The COVID-19 related shutdown has hit Biloxi doubly, as it also receives tax income from casinos that have been shuttered since March 17.
Neighboring Gulfport is also hard hit, with nearly $203,000 less in sales tax receipts as compared with April 2019. Like Biloxi, Gulfport also receives casino tax revenue.
Hattiesburg’s sales tax receipts are down by more than $287,000 (16 percent drop) from April 2019, while Southaven’s revenues were down by more than $223,000 or about 19.2 percent.
Flowood received more than $202,000 less than the same time last year.
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Clarksdale’s sales tax disbursement was down more than $14,500 or 6.6 percent less than the same time last year.
Greenwood’s sales tax disbursement was down more than $33,000 or 6.6 percent less than the same time last year.
Greenville will lose about 9.45 percent in sales tax revenue from this time last year, with collections down by more than $48,000.
Yazoo City’s sales tax revenues remained the same as they did in April 2019, differing by only $12.46.
Magee’s sales tax revenues increased by 3.54 percent, growing by more than $7,500 as compared to the same time last year. Neighboring Mendenhall had a $3,600 increase in its sales tax revenues, a 5.74 percent improvement.
McComb’s sales tax revenues as compared with April 2019 took a 10.24 percent haircut, with more than $48,000 less.
Columbia’s sales tax receipts showed a slight upward hike, improving by 1.84 percent as compared to the same time last year or more than $5,500 in additional revenue.
Sales tax revenues in Carrollton dipped 8.7 percent from the same time last year as the town found itself short of $556.
Winona’s sales tax revenues took a 11.62 percent nosedive, as the city received more than $8,700 less than it did in April 2019.
Eupora had a slight increase in its sales tax receipts, improving slightly (1.22 percent) from nearly $36,000 in April 20 to slightly more than $36,000.
Ackerman enjoyed a slight 4.14 increase over April 2019 sales tax receipts, as the town earned more than $1,000 in additional revenue.
Louisville lost nearly $3,000 in sales tax revenue as compared with April 2019, with receipts down 1.88 percent.
Kosciusko had a slight bump in its sales tax revenues as compared to the same time last year, with a 1.33 percent increase (more than $2,600).
Forest’s sales tax revenues showed only a $20 reduction over the same time last year.
Newton had a slight increase of more than $1,200 with its sales tax receipts, as disbursements from the DOR totaled more than $94,000 as compared to more than $93,000 in April 2019.
Quitman’s sales tax revenues were up by more than $1,600 or 3.12 percent. The city received more than $53,000 in sales tax revenue for this April as compared to more than $51,000 during the same time last year.
Charleston’s sales tax revenues were up nearly one percent from the same time last year, improving from just a few dollars above $32,000 last April.
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Not all cities had a reduction in their sales tax revenues disbursed by the state, with 178 of them showing increases from the same time last year. Petal’s sale tax revenues went up from more than $246,000 for April 2019 to more than $269,000, an increase of more than $21,000 or 6.28 percent.
Despite the closure of the stores in the Outlets of Mississippi, Pearl’s sales tax receipts were up by nearly $22,000 or 2.34 percent compared with April 2019 figures.
Long Beach had a 9.67 percent increase or an improvement of more than $14,000. Neighboring Pass Christian had a similar improvement of 9.19 percent or more than $13,000 in revenue compared to the same time last year.
In north Mississippi, Horn Lake had nearly $22,000 in additional sales tax receipts, an increase of 4.33 percent over last year’s numbers. Neighboring Olive Branch had nearly a 2 percent increase, with nearly $19,000 in additional revenue.
Both Richland and Pascagoula had similar increases of more than $19,500 in revenues, with both getting nearly 4 percent more in April 2019.