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State Sales Tax Collections Hit Monthly Record

By Paul Emerson,
TAC State Financial Analyst


State sales tax collections for November were the highest recorded in the past decade, surpassing $2.02 billion in August 2008. November 2011 receipts were $2.07 billion, up 12.2 percent compared to November 2010 collections. 

In early December, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs released the latest state sales tax collections figures, which showed that over the past 20 consecutive months, the state sales tax has steadily increased. 

Combs identified several factors that contributed to the latest sales tax revenue increase: sales receipts associated with oil and natural gas were strong, while consumer-driven sectors in retails also performed well.

Past State Sales Tax Collections
Despite the peaks and valleys illustrated in the chart, similar inclines occur each year during the same months — such as April, July and October. Leading up to the holiday months in 2011, the state sales tax shows significant gains which may carry into 2012. 

But if the previous three years (Calendar Year 2008 – CY 2010) are any indication of what could happen next, CY 2011 collections will probably peak and then began to taper off. As shown in the chart, the state sales tax for CY 2011 outpaced the previous three years, except for various points where collections dipped below CY 2008 figures. 

Available Funds in Generar Revenue
CY equals calendar years.
click image to enlarge

Interestingly, total collections between CY 2008 and CY 2011 were significantly different. During a period of 11 months (not including December for both years*), total collections for CY2011 equaled $20.3 billion, which is $328 million more than what was collected in CY 2008.

Biennial Revenue Estimates: 2012-13 Biennium 
If collections continue at the November 2011 pace, Combs may have to readjust the Biennial Revenue Estimates (BREs) again. In May 2011, Combs increased the state sales tax revenue estimate by an additional $1.2 billion — now putting the state general revenue at $73.3 billion for the next two years (2012-13). Below is an abbreviated summary of funds available in General Revenue and General Revenue-Related (GR-Related).

State Sales Tax

For more information, contact TAC State Financial Analyst Paul Emerson at (800) 456-5974 or 

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* December 2011 state sales tax collections will not be released until the first week of January 2012.