Economy slowing GJ sales-tax growth

Grand Junction’s revenue from sales and use tax continues to outpace last year’s figures, but the effects of the national financial crisis have city finance officers slightly backing off their original projections of double-digit growth.

The city collected $3.89 million in sales-tax receipts in August, a 4.8 percent boost over the $3.71 million collected a year earlier, according to a report released Monday.

Year-to-date through August, sales- and use-tax receipts totaled $43.6 million. That is 7.9 percent more than the $40.4 million tallied during the same period last year but slightly less than the $43.8 million city officials originally budgeted at the beginning of the year.

Finance Operations Manager Jodi Romero has downsized her projections for the city’s sales and use-tax revenue, dropping from an expected 10 percent increase this year to 7.9 percent.

“The housing market didn’t turn around like we hoped it might, and of course we didn’t foresee the impact of what’s happened over the last month,” she said, referring to the Wall Street meltdown that resulted in a credit crunch and the failure of several mortgage companies, banks and insurance firms.

Even though local spending has slowed, it still exceeds national figures. Year-to-date, Grand Junction’s 5.5 percent increase in retail spending is nearly double the 2.8 percent growth nationwide, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures.

“Right now our local economy is still in a growth mode,” Romero said.

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