Kingsport-Bristol sales tax collection stumble in May – growth rate still leads region

May was a down month for sales tax collections in Tennessee. Only two metro areas managed a year-over-year gain – Clarksville, and Knoxville. Statewide seasonally adjusted collections were 0.4% better than May last year.

Year-to-date market share

Here in Northeast Tennessee Kingsport-Bristol’s collections were down 3.1%. That wasn’t the worst performance statewide – Cleveland was down 5.3%, but Kingsport-Bristol was next to last.

May was also the first negative year-over-year collections month since February when the four-county metro area led the state in year-over-year gains. The metric where Kingsport-Bristol continues to stand out is the year-to-date market share compared to last year. It is the only metro area in the region that has performed at or above its annual 2017 market share. It also leads the region in the year-to-date collections growth rate compared to the first five months of last year.

Broken black line benchmarks Northeast Tennessee performance.

The three-county Johnson City Metropolitan Statistical Area saw collections of 0.5% less than May last year. The year-to-date market share for that metro area has been increasing by a tenth of a point every month this year. That’s a positive gain, but the actual year-to-date market share is still below the 2017 benchmark.

Here’s how May’s year-over-year collections looked in the region according to the Middle Tennessee State University report.

  • Knoxville, up 0.1%
  • Johnson City, down 0.5%
  • Morristown, down 2.5%
  • Kingsport-Bristol, down 3.1%

From a trends perspective only, Kingsport-Bristol and Knoxville have better sales tax collections performance than they did during the first five months of last year. And, although the dollar amount is far smaller, Kingsport-Bristol has almost twice the growth rate of Knoxville. Some of the shine of this year’s performance comes off when you look at annual share performance. Kingsport Bristol was down in 2017 while both Knoxville and Morristown were up.

The overall share has not appreciably changed since 2011. Knoxville has a 64% plus share of the region’s total collections while Kingsport-Bristol is just above 14%. The Johnson City metro share is a little over 13%, and Morristown has an almost 8% share.



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