Sales tax revenues drop after five months of growth

Published 5:06 pm Friday, December 3, 2021

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez enjoyed five straight months of sales tax revenues that exceeded $500,000 at the end of the last fiscal year.

Unfortunately, that trend was broken in October 2021, the first month of the new fiscal year, when the city’s sales tax revenues came in at $471,385.68. 

Sales tax revenues for November were a little better than October, but did not make it to the $500,000 mark. November sales tax revenues were $481,437.24.

Total city sales tax revenues for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2021, were $5.554 million, compared to $5.0 million for fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2020 — a $554,000 increase year over year.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson was disappointed the city didn’t hit the $500,000 mark in October, ending the five-month streak, but said sales tax revenues were good nonetheless.

“We have studied why October numbers were down and we believe it was because we didn’t have any of the major movies under production,” Gibson said. “October is normally our strongest month. We had several major events in October, like the balloon festival. In comparison, August is traditionally one of our slowest months, yet it was higher than October in sales tax revenue this year. The difference is we had two major movies being filmed here in August — Every Time a Bell Rings and Rumble in the Dark.”

The sales tax revenues for August compared to previous years underscores the importance of the state’s tax credits used to attract the production of motion pictures to Mississippi. Further, Gibson said by October, the annual allotment of total tax credits had been exhausted. State law caps those tax credits at $20 million per year.

“We lost out on several big productions at the end of the year because we no longer had those tax credits available,” he said.

Gibson said shopping locally is more important now that ever before.

“We could not provide the basic services we need — paying police, fire, public works crew and all we do to keep this city functional, all we are going to do in our parks — without those sales tax dollars. Shopping local is very important to supporting Natchez,” he said.