Jackson County sales tax revenues dropped by over a third in February from the year before. For the month, the county netted only $305,400 in local option sales taxes, down 36 percent — $169,600 — from February 2008.
It was the lowest monthly amount in five years in Jackson County. Not since February 2004 has the county seen such a small amount of sales tax revenues.
If current trends continue, the county could fall some $1.6 million below budget for 2009 in sales tax revenue. For the first two months of the year, the county is down some $211,600 from last year.
Sales taxes are one of the main sources of income to local governments.
While the sales tax numbers directly impact government revenues, they are also an indication of local economic activity and a barometer of economic health.
SPLOST taxes were also down for the month.
That is bad news. This is a perfect time for down Commerce and other tiny towns to act like NY City and crack down on sign sizes and the like. Stories about Carquest, Walgreens and the small bakery in town having to bow down to sign ordinances makes me want to throw up. Heaven forbid a business want to have a visible sign. Rules must be enforced even if it forces businesses out of downtown. There is no "historical heritage" to preserve. That is just in some people's minds. That kind of thinking runs businesses off.