Continued economic growth in El Campo comes directly from people buying into the “Shop Local!” movement, officials say,

The effect is already paying off for local residents, City Manager Courtney Sladek said, with rising state sales tax rebates allowing the city to plan a reduced tax rate for the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget.

“Shop Local has contributed to an increase in sales tax in El Campo, we’ve seen sales tax continue to rise month-after-month,” Sladek said.

This month’s $373,222 sales tax rebate is no exception. Based on purchases made in July, it’s up 15.81 percent from last year.

“Based on trend (currently at nearly 10 percent), we are expecting modest growth in the future and have set the figures for FY20 at 5 percent growth,” Sladek said. “Sales tax is a volatile revenue source and we continue to monitor it month-to-month. We are extremely pleased with the growth for the current fiscal year.”

This year, sales tax rebates have put $3.34 million into El Campo’s budget, up almost $300,000 from 2018.

Created by the City Development Corporation of El Campo in partnership with the city, chamber and El Campo Leader-News, Shop Local! works to inform residents of the importance of spending dollars locally while encouraging the effort.

Of the 8.5 percent sales tax paid on most items, 1.5 percent is rebated to El Campo and folded into the General Fund for operating expenditures with a portion re-directed to the City Development Corporation of El Campo.

The El Campo economy has shown gains 25 of the last 30 months.

Throughout 2018, El Campo sales tax rebates were up about 9 percent in comparison to 11 percent in 2017. Prior to that, sales tax rebates had fallen for several years.

Other Wharton County Reports

Wharton County’s rebate was up 11.84 percent in September. For the calendar year, the county’s rebate on a half percent of sales tax levied is down 2.84 percent from last year.

For 2018, sales taxes were up just .43 percent. The county finished 2017 up 11.6 percent from 2016.

The city of Wharton’s check jumped 27.62 percent this month, possibly as a state adjustment.

The city is down 1.85 percent for the year. In 2018, the city’s rebates were up 6.38 percent. In 2017, the town’s rebate dropped 4.8 percent.

East Bernard’s rebate rose 11.05 percent in September. For the calendar year, that city’s rebates are up 13.12 percent.

The city’s rebates were up 20.9 percent in 2018.

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