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Gain in tax collections may be a sign the local economy is picking up

Johnson County is going into the holiday shopping season on a positive note as both sales and property tax collections exceed the amount collected as compared to the same time last year.
“The first four months of this fiscal year saw a gain of $8,900,” reported Johnson County Mayor Larry Potter. “Although that’s not a tremendous amount, at least we are on the plus side.”
According to Johnson County Trustee Sue Hensley, who is in charge of collecting taxes, sales tax revenues for Johnson County are up $21,000 for the calendar year. “We have seen an increase in sales tax collected between January and October, 2010, as compared to the same time period last year,” she said.
“While statewide sales tax collections are up, we have been holding rather flat here within the city for the past three months,” reports Mountain City Mayor Kevin Parsons. “There was a spike in collections for the July returns and since then it has been rather steady.” Parsons indicates the increase was attributed to back-to-school purchases and also possibly for July 4th holiday purchases from food and fireworks sales. “My personal business sales taxes collections are up some which I think comes from the fact Appco is closed so I suspect other stores like mine are seeing spikes due to that same reason,” he said. “I feel good about the upcoming holiday season and hopefully we can continue seeing slow but steady increases to indicate that we are heading in the right direction for better days ahead.”
Tennessee revenue collections for October were $732.8 million, 4.95% above collections for the same month last year. This increase marks the third consecutive positive growth month for sales tax collections since the state’s fiscal year began causing cautious optimism statewide. October collections were $24.4 million more than the budgeted estimate. 
According to the state’s finance and administration figures, sales tax collections were $24.1 million more than the estimate for October, with a growth rate of 6.38 percent.
Year-to date collections for three months were $59.9 million more than the budgeted estimate. The general fund was over collected by $46.3 million and the four other funds were over collected by $13.6 million. The breakdown includes decreases in gasoline and motor fuel collections and privilege tax collections while tobacco tax collections were 0.54 percent over October 2009 collections. Inheritance and Estate taxes were over collected by $5.4 million for the month. All other taxes were under collected by a net of $1.2 million.
On a more national scale, things are also picking up with a surge reported in auto purchases in October lifting retail sales by the largest amount in seven months.