Tri-Cities sales tax collections continued lackluster performance in April

Seasonally adjusted sales tax collections in the three-county Johnson City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) are up 0.6%  so far this year while collections in the four-county Kingsport-Bristol MSA are down by 2.9%. Collections for NE Tenn’s  four MSAs were up 1.4% for the first four-months of this year.

The good news for Kingsport-Bristol is April is the first-time collections were better than they were on the year-over-year comparison. Kingsport-Bristol began they year with year-over-year collections lagging Jan. 2018 by a half a point. Then it scored a disastrous 12% drop in February. March improved to a 1.1% decline. This year’s collections – as reported by the MTSU Department of Economics and Finance – is a far cry from last year’s performance. Last year Kingsport-Bristol’s collections were 4% better than were in 2017, which paced the 4.2% annual increase in the Knoxville MSA.

And while the Johnson City metro area’s collections are in the green after the first four months of the new year, they’re lagging the performance of the Knoxville and Morristown metro area by half or better.

Morristown is the sales tax collections golden child so far this year with year-to-date collections 5.3% better than the first four months of last year. It’s the only local metro area with a market share that has been better than its annual 2018 regional share every month this year.

April’s year-over-year collections in Tennessee were up 3.1%, and the month-over-month metric was up 1%. Here’s how the NE Tenn. metro area looked. Month-over-month performance is listed first then year-over-year.

Johnson City MSA – 4.8%, 1.9%

Kingsport-Bristol MSA – 2.4% – 3.3%

Knoxville MSA – 1.4% – 2.3%

Morristown MSA – -0.6% – 9.3%

On the Consolidated Statistical Area (CSA) level Knoxville-Morristown’s seasonally adjusted collections were 3% better than April last year; Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol had a 2.6% increase; and Chattanooga-Cleveland was up 1.9%.

April’s seasonally adjusted total collections in NE Tenn. was $124 million – $33.9 million in the Tri-Cities CSA and $90.1 million in the Knoxville CSA.