GONZALES — Ascension Parish government sales tax collections in April made solid gains over 2011, beating last year’s revenues on a monthly and year-to-date basis, a parish sales tax summary shows.
The report shows that parish government collections in the first third of the year are performing not only better than last year but also better than in 2008, which was the largest sales tax collection year in parish history, parish officials said.
“You can easily see that we’re on target to surpass our highest sales tax collection year ever, of 2008, if sales tax revenues continue as the track they’re on now,” Chief Financial Officer Gwen LeBlanc told the Ascension Parish Council Finance Committee during a meeting earlier this month, according to a parish video recording.
April collections represent March sales and are not presented to the council committee until early June.
In April, the parish’s three sales taxes rose between 17.4 percent and 19.4 percent over the same month in 2011, the report says.
On a year-to-date basis, which includes collections from January to April, growth in the three taxes was nearly as strong as on a monthly basis, rising between 14 percent and 17.5 percent, the report says.
The collections are also strongly ahead of the Parish Council’s conservative revenue projections for the 2012 budget.
Seeing the largest gains was the parish’s half-cent sales tax for roads and fire departments. The council sets aside two-thirds of the tax for roads and one-third for parish fire departments.
The tax pulled in $768,057 in April, a nearly 19.4 percent increase over the same month in 2011, when collections were $643,402, the report says.
On a year-to-date basis, the half-cent tax collected nearly $2.9 million through April, up 17.5 percent over the nearly $2.5 million collected during the same period in 2011, the report says.
The parish’s 1-cent rural sales tax, which funds the basic operations of government, took in nearly $1.6 million in April, boosting the year-to-date total to just less than $6 million, the report says.
The year-to-date total in April represents a nearly 17 percent increase over the same period in 2011, when collections were $5.1 million.
Looking at 1-cent sales tax collections by business sectors, all four broken out by the parish have seen gains so far this year: consumer retail sales, motor vehicle sales, business-to-business sales and the petrochemical industry sales.
But the bulk of the growth in terms of actual dollars came from two areas.
“Most of the increases can be attributed to activity in either the petrochemical industry or the retail industry,” LeBlanc told the committee on June 4.
The petrochemical sector also saw the largest percentage increase versus 2011 of any of the four on a year-to-date basis, rising by 22.5 percent this year.
The petrochemical industry has kicked in close to $3.1 million of the nearly $6 million collected so far from the 1-cent sales tax.
The sector includes not only the parish’s major plants but also the secondary businesses that supply them.