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Lebanon posts solid sales tax gains

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Statewide, sales tax collections were $12.9 million more than estimated and the year-to-date growth rate is 6.29 percent. Tennessee collected $965.7 million in sales taxes from businesses in November 2011.

Lebanon Commissioner of Finance and Revenue Russell Lee said businesses must submit their sales tax collections to the state today. As a result of that late filing date, the state doesnt return reports to local governments until two months later.

What they call December, is actually collected in November, Lee said, pointing out businesses will file their December sales tax collections tomorrow and the local governments will receive those numbers next month.

Lee said sales tax collections by the city were up in November 2011 compared to the previous year and noted for the 2011-2012 fiscal year the city is also receiving more sales tax revenue than the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

We are up 6 percent from last year so far, Lee said.

Mt. Juliet Director of Finance John Rossmaier echoed Lees reports, indicating Mt. Juliet also had a better November last year than it had in 2010. Rossmaier said he expects and hopes December will be significantly larger than Novembers revenues.

They are up a small amount, about a percent or so, Rossmaier said of November 2011 collections compared to the same month in 2010. December will be larger than November, I certainly hope so.

Lee said the December revenues are generally the largest of the year, of course, due to all the Christmas shopping. He pointed out Lebanon continues to collect the largest amount of sales taxes in the county.

Despite improved numbers from the year before, Lee said the city is nowhere near where they were in the fiscal year 2005-2006, before the economy drastically declined.

Nobody knew things were going to tank so bad, Lee said, noting the city was $600,000 short in sales tax collections compared to projections in 2008-2009.

If the slow improvement continues, Lee estimated it could be 2015-2016 before the local governments return to collecting the amount of sales taxes they enjoyed in 2005-2006. Lee said in that year, Lebanon collected almost $9 million in sales taxes, but last year collected less than $8 million.

However, Lee and Rossmaier were optimistic about receiving December numbers and felt confident that this current fiscal year will see more sales tax revenues for local governments than the year before.

by Patrick Hall

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