While concerns with the economy have become a major issue in the national presidential campaign, the economies in Texas — and Ellis County specifically — appear to be going strong based on the latest report on sales tax returns.

Issued monthly by the state Comptroller’s Office, sales tax returns serve as a report on local consumer spending, which can be used as an indicator to guage local economies.

On Friday, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs announced the state collected $1.8 billion in sales tax in November, up 9.5 percent compared to November 2006.  

The comptroller sent local governments $447.3 million in December sales tax allocations, up 10.8 percent compared to last December.

“State sales tax collections through the first three months of fiscal 2008 are up 6.6 percent compared to the same period last year,” Combs said. “Growth is substantially slower than the vigorous 12 percent and 10.9 percent seen in fiscal 2006 and 2007, respectively. As the pace of the U.S. and Texas economies continues to cool, we expect the growth in Texas sales tax collections will continue to moderate.”  

Locally, the city of Waxahachie received $774,130.33 in December as compared to last December’s receipts of $712,803.51, an increase of 8.6 percent. For the year, Waxahachie received $9,787,856.28, a 5.13 percent increase over 2006 receipts of $9,310,155.

The city of Ennis received $316,295.89 as compared to last December’s receipts of $267,413.65, an increase of 18.27 percent. For the year, Ennis received $3,972,963.78, a 5.67 percent increase over 2006 receipts of $3,759,529.94.

The city of Midlothian received $252,829.86, as compared to last December’s receipts of $224,563.57, an increase of 12.58 percent. For the year, Midlothian received $3,347,089.38, a 12.01 percent increase over 2006 receipts of $2,988,202.55.

The city of Red Oak received $127,317.76 as compared to last December’s receipts of $125,915.89, an increase of 1.11 percent. For the year, Red Oak received $1,637,607.26, a 0.74 percent decrease from 2006 receipts of $1,649,912.21.

Other communities and their receipts (December 2007, December 2006, percent change, total 2007, total 2006, percent change) are as follows:

• Alma – $7,585.29, $4,726.98, 60.46 percent increase, $49,569.25, $45,545.82, 8.83 percent increase

• Bardwell – $1,625.11, $686.86, 136.59 percent increase, $11,351.30, $10,421.44, 8.92 percent increase

• Ferris – $19,282.17, $26,601.53, 27.51 percent decrease, $252,074.16, $280,751.87, 10.21 percent decrease

• Garrett – $1,369.85, $108.73, 1,159.86 percent increase, $3,751.36, $2,562.72, 46.38 percent increase

• Italy – $16,865.88, $14,110.98, 19.52 percent increase, $192,547.33, $194,977, 1.24 percent decrease

• Maypearl – $5,520.03, $2,600.64, 112.25 percent increase, $51,433.10, $38,444.80, 33.78 percent increase

• Milford – $306.55, $352.12, 12.94 percent decrease, $9,964.23, $18,220.19, 45.31 percent decrease

• Oak Leaf – $2,113.99, $2,025.41, 4.37 percent increase, $24,928.51, $27,060.63, 7.87 percent decrease

• Ovilla – $6,486.73, $3,609.05, 79.73 percent increase, $94,292.40, $81,753.56, 15.33 percent increase

• Palmer – $11,433.40, $11,308.62, 1.1 percent increase, $159,397.15, $167,632.67, 4.91 percent decrease

• Pecan Hill – $301.41, $252.88, 19.19 percent increase, $3,882.22, $3,211.34, 20.89 percent increase

As a whole, Ellis County received $1,543,464.25 in December receipts, a 10.47 percent increase over 2006 receipts of $1,397,080.42. For 2007, the county received $19,598,707.71, a 5.49 percent increase over 2006 receipts of $18,578,381.74.

Combs sent Texas cities December sales tax allocations of $300 million, up 9.9 percent compared to December 2006.   

City sales tax allocations during calendar year 2007 totaled $3.8 billion, up 6.9 percent compared to 2006. Counties’ December sales tax allocations were $27.5 million, up 11.1 percent compared to December 2006. Counties received $338.9 million in sales tax during calendar year 2007, up 8.4 percent compared to last year.  

Ten local transit systems received December sales tax allocations of $104.4 million, an 11.9 percent increase over December 2006.  Sales tax allocations to transit systems in 2007 totaled $1.2 billion, up 5.4 percent compared to the 2006 total. December sales tax allocations of $15.2 million went to 124 special purpose-taxing districts, an increase of 21.3 percent compared to last December.  Special purpose districts received $180.6 million during 2007, up 17.9 percent compared to 2006.

“The final sales tax allocation of 2007 brings total local sales tax allocations for the calendar year to $5.6 billion, surpassing last year’s local sales tax revenue by 6.9 percent, despite a slowing economy,” Combs said.  

The next local sales tax allocation will be Jan.11.