by chad calder
Advocate business writer
July 25, 2012
Retail spending in East Baton Rouge Parish rose 13 percent in May from a year ago, according to figures released by the city-parish Finance Department.
Consumers and businesses spent $700 million that month, compared with $617.1 million in May 2011.
The figures do not include vehicle sales.
Mayor-President Kip Holden’s office said spending got a boost from the two-day Bayou Country Superfest and the five-month bowling tournament that ended earlier this month. The three months previous were up anywhere between 7 percent and 9 percent.
For first five months of the year, retail spending is up 9 percent from last year to $3.31 billion.
Inside the city limits, spending was up 8 percent in May and 5 percent for the year, while the outlying parts of the parish saw spending increase by 19 percent in May and 13 percent for the year.
Half of total spending is retail trade, excluding restaurants and bars, and that category was up 9 percent. Vehicle sales rose 16 percent. Manufacturing, which is 13 percent of the total, jumped 59 percent in May.
Total tax collections for the city-parish, which include vehicle sales, were up 14 percent to $15.1 million. Collections are up 9 percent to $71.5 million for the year.
Holden said in a news release that any additional revenue will be put toward public safety in the upcoming budget process.
“The economy is still fragile and good news doesn’t mean there will be a spending spree,” he said.
“We will continue to be responsible and frugal, keeping a tight rein on spending, but public safety will always, always see the first benefit of any additional revenue.”