The Tax Commission distributed $37.73 million to Utah’s cities, towns and counties for the 1% local sales tax last week, up 1.7% from last year’s $37.11 million. These monies represent mainly sales from January 2015 large, monthly filers. At first glance, the 1.7% increase appears low, but coupled with the 13% gain from last month’s 4th quarter sales and the 3.7% gain in the January distribution, the last three months’ gain equals a healthy 6.8%. It is also possible that some of January’s transactions were counted last month, which lowered January’s gain.
Retail sales across the U.S. rose 3.2% in January, and new light-vehicle sales rose from 15.2 million last year to 16.6 million in January 2015, up 9.2%.
What’s interesting with this month’s distribution is the fact that while Salt Lake and Weber counties grew along with the statewide growth of 1.7%, Davis County’s distribution rose 5.1%, implying an 8.5% sales gain and Utah County’s distribution rose 3.9%, implying a 6.2% sales increase.
In Salt Lake County, double-digit gains in Draper and South Jordan were almost offset by small declines in Sandy, Holladay and Midvale. Salt Lake City’s distribution was up only 0.5%, but its 3-month average gain was still up 6%.
Davis County gains ranged from 2.3% in Kaysville to 16.3% in Farmington, while its largest cities, Bountiful and Layton, scored 5.1% and 4.2% increases, respectively.
The Tax Commission distributed $55.79 million to cities and counties for the 1% local sales tax in February 2015, a 13.0% increase over last February’s $49.38 million (Figure 1). These monies are primarily from sales in December 2014, but also include monies from fourth quarter and calendar year returns. The 13% gain in the February distribution pushes up the year-to-date gain for the first half of FY2014-15 to 7.1%.
In contrast, nationwide retailers’ sales rose 4.3% in December 2014 to $455.7 billion, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census through FRB St. Louis (Figure 2).
Our models estimated a baseline forecast for CY2015 taxable sales at 6.8% growth (made last October). Our pessimistic scenario indicated 2.7% growth for CY2015.
Five out of the eight largest cities in Salt Lake County distributions rose in double-digits, including Salt Lake City (14.1%), West Valley (16.6%), Midvale (15%), Draper (24.2%) and South Jordan (17.5%). Draper’s distribution reached $1 million for the first time.
All of the large cities we survey in Utah and Weber counties’ distributions rose more than 12%. Lehi reached the million dollar mark too for the first time.
In Davis county, Layton’s distribution rose 12.2% and Farmington’s rose almost 21%.
Park City’s distribution rose almost 25%, suggesting sales rose nearly 37%.
Figure 1. Select 1% Sales Tax Distributions
Figure 2. U.S. Retail Sales (Federal Reserve Bank, St. Louis)
Figure 3. Utah 1% Sales Tax Distributions
Representative Johnny Anderson’s bill HB 362: Transportation Infrastructure Funding came out yesterday. ULCT staff has analysed it and provided recommendations for a ULCT position on key aspects of the bill for our Legislative Policy Committee which you can read here: