New report suggests change in sales tax revenue in Charlottesville area

Published: Oct. 2, 2022 at 1:23 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2022 at 1:24 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Sales tax revenue is up, according to Neil Williamson’s Free Enterprise Forum.

A recently released report from FEF shares statistics on the first half of 2022 retail sales growth in the central Virginia region.

“Charlottesville was the second-highest producer for the first half of 2022 compared with their results in 2021. They had 13.22% increase,” Williamson said.

FEF’s president then compared the city to Albemarle County: “Albemarle not far behind at a 10.77% increase in sales tax revenue. What that means is there’s a three-point difference,” Williamson said. “You may be seeing an impact of late-opening retail in Charlottesville now being open and impacting those numbers.”

Williamson says this is a lagging indicator, and they are looking backwards in time.

“One of the concerns we have is the June numbers are really very soft and, in fact, many are negative,” Williamson said. “We’re looking at from June to June, the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index actually increased over 9%. If your increase is less than 9%, you’re actually going backwards.”

He believes this shows softening in consumer spending on things that are charged sales tax retail and internet.

“In June, we’re starting to see a pullback on sales tax numbers, indicating there may be a softening in consumer demand or a tightening of consumer spending,” Williamson said.

Localities are being compared against themselves: “How each localities increases or decreases impact the various budgets and it’s in the terms of millions of dollars of sales tax revenue over the year. It is not a small budget item,” Williamson said.

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