Renton's January sales tax numbers are in: So far, so good
By BRIAN BECKLEY
Renton Reporter Assistant Editor
March 1, 2013 · Updated 4:09 PM
It's still very early in the year, of course, but 2013 is already off to a better start than 2012, according to City of Renton sales tax numbers.
Members of the finance department appeared before the city council's finance committee Feb. 25 to provide an update and the news was good.
"We had a very good January," Iwen Wang told the committee.
In total, sales tax collections for January are up more than $293,000 over January 2012.
According to Wang, five of the seven sectors the city tracks had their highest January numbers in five years, including construction and manufacturing, the city's two highest-performing sectors last month.
"Those two are the drivers," Wang said.
In January, the city collected $250,801 in sales tax from the construction sector, up more than $108,000 over last year. The increase was driven by three large construction projects from Boeing.
In the manufacturing sector, the numbers were slightly skewed by an audit finding that had the city refunding a large over-collection in tax dollars from the previous year, which skews the percentages a bit for this year. But Wang said, even when the refund is removed, the city is still up about 11 percent over last year in the manufacturing sector, due in large part to another strong year from Boeing.
There was also positive news form other parts of the city as sales tax from the Landing stores was up more than 3 percent over last year, but non-landing businesses in the city were up more than 23 percent over 2012.
Wang on Wednesday called the early report "very positive news" and said all indicators bode very well for the city this year.
Wang said the question now is if and how the federal government's sequester, which is expected to affect the state to the tune of $300 million, will affect the city.
But taken as a whole, it's so-far-so-good for 2013.
"The recovery is taking hold," she said, but acknowledged while the growth rate is stable, it is still slower than a typical recovery. "We think we will end the year on a more positive note than we originally budgeted."