Tourism tax funds growing

By Daniel Brunty
The Choctaw Plaindealer

The City of Louisville saw a decrease in sales tax and an increase in tourism tax for the month of June as it tries to recover from the April 28 storms.
The city of Louisville collected a total of $145,797.70 in city sales tax reported for the month of June 2014. This was a decrease of $12,923.73 from the May 2014 total of $158,721.43 reported.
The total sales tax collected by the city of Louisville from January 2014 until present time is $902,473.92. Even with the decrease in June, the total for the same period this year increased, with last year’s total being $892,449.39. This was an increase of $10,024.53. Sales taxes make up about 45 percent of the city’s budget and the ad valorem property taxes make up only about 20 percent of the city’s budgeted revenues.
When reporting the sales tax revenue figures, they are calculated from a 60-day period of the time of the actual sales. This means that the figures reported for June 2014 are actual sales tax collected by the city in April 2014.
The city’s tourism tax saw an increase in June as well, going from $2,002.80 in May 2014 to $4,125.77 for the month. This was an increase of $2122.97. The tourism tax was added to the ballot during the June 4, 2013 Louisville Primary Election. The referendum passed with over 60 percent of the vote. City officials stated at the time that the tax, which would not affect most taxpayers, was projected to raise approximately $40,000 annually, which was earmarked for improvements to parks, recreation and benefit tourism and economic development.
City officials are very interested in seeing the sales tax revenue for June 2014, mainly to see if the April 28 storms will have any effect on the overall total amount. With the city still in the process of recovery, next month’s statistics will be all that important.
Fortunately, city officials are looking forward to the next couple of months to bring a huge increase in the tourism tax for the city, with people visiting the summer attractions such as Lake Tiak O’Khata and Legion Park. The tourism tax places a 2 percent accommodation tax on all hotel or motel room rentals in the city, with that being used to promote tourism and parks and recreation within the City.
Money generated by the tax does not go into the city’s general fund for operating government but is used “for the purpose of providing funds to promote the attributes of the city, and to promote
the city’s tourism and economic development,” according to the state legislation.