On the surface, the sales tax report released by the Comptroller last week was pretty startling for Marble Falls. The December 2014 report showed a decrease of 16.64% from the December 2013 report, meaning that October sales were miserable for Marble Falls merchants, right? In response, I’ll borrow a line from Lee Corso, who likes to say: “Not so fast, my friend.”
The December 2013 report was unprecedented for Marble Falls. While that October’s sales would have set a new record on their own, the report also included a reallocation from a prominent retailer whose sales tax had been improperly allocated for more than two years. The result was a report that showed a whopping 50.37% increase over the previous year and a total allocation of more than $700,000 to the City of Marble Falls.
With this exceptional activity, we knew that the December 2014 report would be less than the 2013 report, but, in truth, we were expecting a much larger decrease than 16.64%. A really good number for a December report would have been $570,000, which equates to a 10% increase over the previous high for that month. The allocation that was posted was $585,329.02, which reflects a 12.4% increase over the December 2013 report without the reallocation.
In terms of year-end numbers, 2013 shattered figures from previous years, with a total allocation of $6,988,225 and a 15.44% increase over 2012. Even without the reallocation, 2013 was 8.7% better than any other year previously. With the 2014 year-end report showing a total allocation of $7,068,148, the increase over 2013 including the reallocation is a very modest 1.14%; not counting the reallocation, 2014 was 3.84% better than the record-shattering 2013.