, Muskogee, OK

October 8, 2013

You can help stop sales tax declines

— While it’s not disturbing news Muskogee’s sales tax revenue is in the midst of a seven-month slide, it should give everyone pause for concern.

Despite the downward trend for sales tax collections, interim City Manager Roy Tucker said sales tax collections for the general fund during the first three months of the fiscal year that began July 1 are down just more than $105,000.

That slight number isn’t disturbing. Of course, we’d like it to be seven consecutive months of higher collections.

But because the decline is so minor, there’s no cause for panic.

Tucker said the loss has been offset by 39 vacant positions. Those positions are not frozen. Tucker said the city will continue to “maintain conservative spending.”

This is a prudent decision. Officials also are trying to figure out why there is a slide by looking at four factors:

• Whether there have been any measurable sales tax permit cancellations resulting from business closures.

• Whether businesses that have canceled sales tax permits are, in fact, out of business.

• Whether there are any sales taxes due but remain uncollected as a result of any payment or installment plans with the tax commission.

• Whether collections here are comparable with similarly situated municipalities, industries and vendors from prior years.

The slight decline could be an anomaly. Or there really could be something to it.

This should serve as a reminder to all of us to shop local.

Staying here when making purchases big or small helps the city move forward.

Those of you who go to Tulsa or elsewhere for entertainment on the weekends, stay here instead more than half the time.

If everyone who goes elsewhere for entertainment did that, it could spur Muskogee toward an increase in sales tax collections as opposed to a steady decline.