Sales taxes a bright spot for county government revenues

Sales taxes collected by the state and disbursed back to counties in May are up throughout the area.

The percentage increase in sales taxes reimbursed to nine southwest Ohio counties in May ranged from a 2.6 percent gain in Warren County from May 2012 to May 2013, to a nearly 14.5 percent leap in Champaign County for the same period.

Sales tax disbursements in May in Greene County dropped 2.1 percent from a year ago. Also there was a less than 1 percent change in disbursements last month in Miami County.

This newspaper examined sales tax figures for Butler, Champaign, Clark, Greene, Hamilton, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Warren counties.

Statewide, $121,483,160 in sales tax revenues were distributed back to Ohio’s 88 counties, compared to $116,198,627 in May 2012, a 4.5 percent rise, according to Ohio Dept. of Taxation. Sales tax revenues have been trending up the past three years, according to Ohio Taxation department spokesman Gary Gudmundson.

Montgomery County received $5,725,804 for sales taxes in May, up approximately 10 percent from May 2012, state and county records showed.

Sales tax revenues comprise 50 percent of Montgomery county’s whole general fund budget of $134.5 million, said John Parks, Montgomery County budget and financial planning manager. Sales taxes, property taxes and investment income are the three biggest components of the budget. While sales tax revenues have recovered from declines after the 2007-2009 recession, revenues from property taxes and investment income still suffer from low property values and low interest rate returns, he said.

Clark County is “right now 3.5 percent up over 2012,” County Administrator Nathan Kennedy said.

May sales tax distributions are sales tax revenues paid back to counties by the state, based on sales taxes actually collected in March. Sales taxes collected in March and distributed in May are primarily based on sales of goods and services that actually happened in February.

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