By Margaret Toal
For the Record 

Orange County sales tax increases lag behind inflation


Last updated 3/15/2022 at 5:58pm

Cities in Orange County, along with the county, are seeing mostly increases in sales tax revenues, but not always enough to keep up with the rate of inflation.

The Texas Comptroller's Office has sent sales tax payments for January sales to the entities in March and statistics show most have an increase. The city of Pinehurst, though, is collecting less than in March last year and is down nearly $65,000 in sales tax revenues during the first three months of 2022.

The U.S. Department of Labor in February announced the national rate of inflation is up 7.5 percent from last year, the largest increase since the 1980s.

The Texas Comptroller's Office reports that sales taxes collected for the state, cities, and special districts do not include taxes on gas and diesel fuel. The state has a 20-cents-per-gallon tax on those fuels and the money is used solely for state highways, roads, and bridges. The fuel tax has not gone up since 1991.

The office said the federal fuel tax is 18.4 cents per gallon for gas and 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel. The federal fuel tax is also used for highways and transportation. The tax has not changed since 1993.

The sales tax is collected on items like furniture, clothing, motor vehicles, prepared foods and beverages, along with a number of other items. Groceries and medicines do not have sales taxes in Texas.

Orange County collects a sales tax of a half-cent per dollar rate. The cities, except for West Orange, have rates of one and a half cents per dollar. West Orange's rate is one and a fourth cent per dollar. Orange County Emergency Services District No. 3, which is for the Little Cypress Fire and Rescue Department, has a sales tax of one and a half cents per dollar. It is the only special district in the county that has a sales tax, which was approved by voters in the district several years ago.

The March payments covering January sales are:

Bridge City received $153,880 for the month, a 4.48 percent increase from January last year. The city's total sales tax income for the first three months is $587,417, up 11.48 percent for the same period last year, putting the city at $60,537 more for the year so far.

Orange is up $302,000 in collections for the first three months. The payment in March was $607,720, a 24.62 percent increase from January sales last year. So far in 2022, the city has collected $1.984 million, a 17.95 percent increase from last year.

Pinehurst received $44,826 for the month, a decrease of 27.56 percent from the January taxes last year. The city is down $65,000 for collections in the first three months compared to 2021. The year-to-date collection is $116,711.

Vidor's monthly payment was $260,000, a 4.64 percent increase from sales in January last year. The city has $42,830 more in sales tax income for the year to date with a total this year so far at $900,562, an increase of 3.78 percent.

West Orange is down slightly, $970, for the payment this month, which is $95,485, a decrease of 0.69 percent. The city so far this year has collected a total of $360,781 in sales taxes, an increase of $18,104, or 5.28 percent.

Orange County received a monthly payment of $499,933 in March, an increase of 9.65 percent from last year. The county now has $133,000 more collected for the year to date with a total of $1.83 million, an increase of 7.81 percent.

OC ESD 3 collected $22,100 in March, an increase of $2,870, and is now at $70,711 for the year to date, which is down $12,357 from last year.


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