Sales tax up for liquor, down everywhere else

The news that liquor stores were the only sector in Grand Junction that experienced a sales tax revenue boost in the first nine months of 2009 surprised Crossroads Wine & Spirits’ Jerry Sica.

Sica said he’s heard complaints from other liquor store owners in the city that their sales are hurting, and Denver liquor store sales are down 10 to 15 percent. But Crossroads’ move to a larger building at 611 24 Road this summer and the addition of an artisan cheese shop at the store are evidence the 6.2 percent upswing in sales tax revenue from Grand Junction liquor stores shouldn’t be all that shocking.

Crossroads’ sales are creeping toward last year’s record numbers, Sica said.

Overall, sales tax revenue was down 14.5 percent year-over-year in the first nine months of 2009. The city took in $30.1 million in January through September 2009, $5.1 million less than the city brought in during the first nine months of 2008.

A third quarter 2009 report shows the city of Grand Junction took in four-fifths of the sales and use tax revenue it did in the third quarter of 2008, coming out of the three-month period with $9.46 million.

The building materials industry took the hardest hit, with 37.9 percent less sales and use tax between July to September 2008 and the same months in 2009. Drugstores saw a 28.1 percent decrease, automobile and camper dealers had a 27.1 percent decrease, motels and hotels fell 25.4 percent, service stations declined 23.6 percent, and furniture and appliance stores took a 22.1 percent dip.

Clothing and department store sales tax revenue went down 14.8 percent, restaurants took in 7.2 percent less, and grocery stores decreased 3.2 percent. Sales and use tax collection was down 19.8 percent for businesses labeled “other.”

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