EBR sets new record for March sales-tax collections

EBR sets new record for March sales-tax collections

POSTED: Friday, May 18, 2012 - 5:00am

UPDATED: Friday, May 18, 2012 - 5:04am

Fueled in part by a national bowling tournament and the filming of a big-budget Tom Cruise movie, East Baton sales-tax collections had their strongest March ever this year.

Figures released today showed that the 2-percent sales tax dedicated to the city-parish general fund generated $15.5 million in March, even surpassing the $15.1 million that was collected in March 2006 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

March 2012 was up a little more than $1 million more than the same month last year, when a total of $14.4 million in sales taxes was collected.

“This is great news for the city of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish, but it’s no accident,” Mayor Holden said. “The record March sales-tax collections are the result of a lot of hard work for a ot of individuals.

“When I talk to restaurants and businesses throughout the parish, I hear from them that they are seeing the difference in having groups like the bowlers and movie industry here,” the Mayor added. “Our economic development strategies are truly paying off at the cash register for our local business community.”

The USBC tournament, which began Feb. 11 and continues through July 10, is expected to draw more than 100,000 people from across the country. With most visitors staying in the area between three and four days, the event is projected to have a $100 million economic impact.

This is the second time that the tournament has been held in Baton Rouge. The first time was in 2005, and was so successful that Holden and local tourism officials began working on USBC officials to return the event to Baton Rouge.

Mayor Holden also credited Baton Rouge’s rapidly growing film industry with contributing to the sales-tax boom. Holden created the Baton Rouge Film Commission shortly after taking office in 2005 to help attract film projects to the area, and their efforts have paid off.

Movie and television projects spent an estimated $208 million here in 2011. Already this year, Baton Rouge has 28 projects lined up, including a Tom Cruise film that will continue filming here through early June. The Tom Cruise movie alone is pumping $56 million directly into our local economy this year.

The efforts to diversify the local economy helped Baton Rouge to avoid the massive shortfalls that forced many U.S. cities to lay off workers and cut services during the recent recession.

There was some belt-tightening, as parish-wide sales-tax collections dropped by 6 percent in 2009 and by 3 percent in 2010 before rebounding with a 4-percent gain last year. In all, a total of $162.5 million in sales taxes were collected for the general fund in 2011, representing a $6.3-million increase from 2010.

For the first quarter of 2012, East Baton Rouge sales-tax revenues total $42 million, a 7.49-percent compared to the same period in 2011.

The following are March sales tax collection totals in EBR over the past 10 years:

March 2012 $15.5 million

March 2011 $14.4 million

March 2010 $14.2 million

March 2009 $14.3 million

March 2008 $14.2 million

March 2008 $14.3 million

March 2006 $15.1 million

March 2005 $12.0 million

March 2004 $11.2 million

March 2003 $10.9 million

March 2002 $10.7 million

For more information, go to www.brgov.com/dept/finance/5yrhistsalestax.htm

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