Ouachita Parish sales tax collections show solid gain in July

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MONROE, Louisiana — Ouachita Parish sales tax collections showed another solid gain in July, which economist Bob Eisenstadt tells The New-Star (http://tnsne.ws/1Bpm09h ) solidifies a continuing trend of growth in the market.

Combined sales tax collections for all jurisdictions were up 4.6 percent in July compared to the same period in 2013. Overall, collections have been up six of seven months in 2014 and overall sales tax revenue is up 2.8 percent year to date.

"Again, this is a pattern of modest, but sustainable growth," Eisenstadt, director of the University of Louisiana at Monroe's Center for Business and Economic Research, said. "It's healthy."

An ongoing surge in auto sales continued to help drive sales tax increases. Vehicle sales were up 10.4 percent in July, the fourth double-digit monthly increase of the year.

Year to date vehicle sales are up 7.5 percent.

"The auto industry both nationally and locally has enjoyed a remarkable comeback from the recession," Eisenstadt said.

The city of Monroe posted a 1.4 percent gain in July collections, while the city of West Monroe enjoyed a 3.4 percent increase and the town of Sterlington continued its blistering growth pace with a 73 percent increase in July.

"It seems clear the Ouachita Parish economy is in a modest growth phase," Eisenstadt said. "Commercial construction is brisk, housing starts are strong and the ongoing expansion of CenturyLink is driving much of that both directly and indirectly."

Information from: The News-Star, http://www.thenewsstar.com

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