A $587,139 check from the state comptroller’s office raised hopes that El Campo’s economy may be heating up with the weather.
The check, the May sales tax rebate, is up 9.44 percent from the one received in May 2022. The rebate is based on sales tax paid in March.
“Obviously, we’re relieved and elated to see this month’s receipts,” El Campo City Manager Courtney Sladek said. “This record number for the city was badly needed to help offset some of our losses from earlier this year.”
El Campo showed a 3.35 percent loss on its April return, but was up 9.05 percent gain. Prior to that, rebate checks had been down for four months.
For the calendar year, the city is still down 2.42 percent in comparison to 2022, but officials say there’s still time. “Are we out of the slump? I can’t tell based on one month, I continue to remain optimistic and realistic as we prepare next year’s budget,” Sladek said.
Sales tax is the top funding source for El Campo’s general operating budget followed by property tax. That’s why officials continually urge the public to shop local and, when shopping online, to make sure you are within the city limits before finalizing any purchases. State law allows the municipality to capture sales tax paid on purchases with its city limits – even those made online.
So far this year, El Campo has received slightly less than $2.32 million in comparison to $2.37 million last year.
The last year El Campo experienced a sales tax loss was 2016, a 3.41 percent decline.
The city ended 2022 up 3.05 percent on sales tax rebates. In 2021 sales tax returns were up 13.76 percent.
Wharton County and the City of Wharton continue to receive abnormally high sales tax rebates, but no explanation has been offered.
The monthly sales tax report indicates Wharton County received $41,291 in rebate dollars, up 19.05 percent from May 2022. Year to date, the county is up 15.5 percent with $1,879,849 received.
Commissioners saw a 1.23 percent gain in 2022, and leaped 27.68 percent increase in 2021. The last calendar year Wharton County experienced a loss was 2014, when the sales tax rebates were down 1.2 percent.
The City of Wharton got a $294,547 rebate check from the comptroller this month, up 20.88 percent from 2022. The gain puts year-to-date rebates at slightly more than $1.3 million, up 16.18 percent.
Wharton finished 2022 with rebates up 5.3 percent and 2021 rose 14.63 percent. Sales tax in Wharton was down 0.29 percent in comparison to 2019.
The City of East Bernard’s rebate plunged 15.3 percent in May, collecting $47,047 in comparison to $55,548 in May 2022.
So far this year, East Bernard’s sales tax rebates are down 3.57 percent with $237,925 collected.
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