City#039;s sales tax revenue up 33 percent

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2005

The city’s coffers continued its upswing in December with an increase in revenue from the city’s sales tax.

According to the City Clerk’s office, taxes collected for items purchased in Dec. 2004 totaled $580,624.27.

That is phenomenal when you consider the revenue collected for Dec. 2003 totaled $441.792.81.

This equals a 33 percent increase from 2003 to 2004.

According to Dr. Jean Thompson, District One councilwoman, the economy itself is better in Greenville and that’s now reflected in what people are spending.

&uot;I think more people have jobs and when you consider the unemployment rate is down, that also helps,&uot; she said.

&uot;Obviously when you are employed, you feel good about yourself and you spend more money.

With the new industries in town, we have more people working and more people have a greater sense of security.&uot;

Thompson said one business that is likely impacting the economy is Wal-Mart.

&uot;I think Wal-Mart has brought in more money than we originally thought it would,&uot; she said.

&uot;From what I’ve noticed when I’ve been out there is that it tends to be more interstate dollars than local dollars.&uot;

She said she notices the car tags when she visits the store and is always amazed at the number of out-of-town vehicles in the parking lot.

&uot;That of course is going to increase over the summer,&uot; she said. &uot;As people are traveling, they’ll stop in and that will only bolster our local economy.&uot;

Thompson said with the increase in revenue continuing over a period of time, she would support lowering the sales tax.

&uot;I’m hoping that we can possibly do that after looking at this for several months,&uot; she said.

&uot;I’m sure it will be brought up and I’d be all for that.&uot;

Above all, Thompson believes it has to do with the employment numbers.

&uot;The drop in unemployment is why I think we have gotten an increase in revenue,&uot; she said.

&uot;I’m getting the feeling now that anyone who wants to be employed, can be employed and I believe what happened here is that people have gone to work.&uot;

Phillip Graham, the general manager of Super Foods, said he believes the increase follows the growth spurned by Hurricane Ivan.

&uot;In our case, it was sad to say but many people lost everything they had put up in their freezers and they were forced to replace it for the rest of the year,&uot; he said.

&uot;The business we built up in the weeks after the hurricane continued right on into December.&uot;

He said while he is pleased his sales and the city’s revenue is up, he would prefer not to have it happen again the way with the Hurricane Ivan.

&uot;I don’t want to have good business at the expense of others,&uot; he said.

As for the 9-cents sales tax, Graham said he has heard very few customers complain about the tax rate.