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Bulldogs boost sales tax numbers in Golden Triangle



Slim Smith



Sales tax revenue from October was up throughout the Golden Triangle, but of particular interest to Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau director Nancy Carpenter were the motel tax receipts. 


Sales tax revenue from motels was $30,295 for October, a healthy 30.8-percent jump from the same month a year ago. Carpenter provided a succinct, three-word explanation for that: Mississippi State football. 


"You know, sometimes when I talk about Mississippi State, people just think I'm a fan, which I am, of course," Carpenter said. "But it goes farther than that. Our motels were packed in October and the reason for that, more than anything else, was the success of Mississippi State's football team." 


The Bulldogs had two huge home games on back-to-back weekends in October, beating then sixth-ranked Texas A&M on Oct. 4, followed by a win over then third-ranked Auburn on Oct. 11, wins that catapulted MSU to the top of the national rankings en route to a 10-2 overall record and a date in the Dec. 31 Orange Bowl in Miami. 


Not surprisingly, Starkville also witnessed a jump in sales tax revenue compared to the same month a year ago. 


Overall tax revenue increased by $36,655, a jump of 7.5 percent while the city's 2-percent restaurant tax came in at $160,551 for October, $10,329 higher than the total from October 2013, an increase of 6.9 percent. 


In Columbus, overall sale tax revenue was $733,144, representing a 4.3-percent improvement over the October 2013 numbers. Restaurant sales tax revenue increased by a shade over $7,000 to $128,352, a 6-percent improvement. 


Through the first three months of the fiscal year, Columbus' overall sales tax revenue has outpaced last year's three-month returns by $112,818. 


"A lot of that money, as much as half of that, will go toward obligations such as the TIF bond payments from the agreements made to bring in things like Dick's Sporting Goods and Michael's," noted city chief financial officer Milton Rawle. "Even so, the numbers are encouraging." 


In West Point, overall sales tax revenue was up $12,755 from the same period in 2013, an increase of 6.7 percent. Tourism sale tax revenue improved by $4,355, an impressive 23.3-percent leap. 


Sales tax revenue for cities is 18.5 percent of total sales tax collections.


Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]



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