POSTED: Friday, February 17, 2012 - 12:52pm
UPDATED: Friday, February 17, 2012 - 12:52pm
BATON ROUGE, LA — The 2-percent sales tax that fuels the city-parish general fund generated $162.5 million in 2011, an increase of 4 percent from the previous year, according to the latest sales tax figures released today.
Parish-wide sales tax collections for the general fund - which funds most of the daily operations of city-parish government - totaled $16.4 million in December o 2011, making it the strongest December in three years.
For the entire year, the 2011 general-fund sales tax collections represent a $6.3 million increase from the previous year, and a $1.4 million increase from 2009, when revenues began to slump due to the national recession.
Mayor Melvin “Kip” Holden said the 2011 sales-tax totals show that Baton Rouge’s economy is on the rebound. It’s the highest total since 2008, when the city-parish collected $171.4 million, driven in part by the rebuilding that occurred in the wake of Hurricane Gustav.
Overall, the Mayor said that the Capital City has weathered the national recession much better than most other American cities that had to resort to service cuts and layoffs to balance their budgets.
“I have watched other cities in Louisiana and around the country cut police officers, reduce services and lay off employees. That hasn’t happened here in East Baton Rouge Parish,” the Mayor said.
The Mayor noted that Louisiana state government is still grappling with layoffs and cutting services to balance its budget.
“It hasn’t been easy, but with conservative budgeting, we’ve kept our city-parish on solid financial footing and our local economy strong. And now we’re not just surviving, we’re thriving,” he added.
Mayor Holden noted that Baton Rouge is ranked seventh in the nation for projected job growth through 2020 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And he noted that we are the only city in the Southeast to make the top 10, according to the projections for the 100 largest metro areas.
The Mayor said he expects the local economy to continue its strong showing in 2012, thanks in part to the United States Bowling Congress national tournament, which is expected to attract some 60,000 bowlers who are projected to spend nearly $100 million over the next five months.
Baton Rouge’s growing film and television industry is also expected to continue to bring big bucks into the parish, he said. Already this year, Baton Rouge has 28 projects lined up, including a big budget Tom Cruise film that will pump $56 million directly into our local economy. In 2011, the movie and television industry spent an estimated $208 million here, the Mayor said.
To view a comparison of the city-parish general fund sales tax collections over the past five years, click here