Kingsport-Bristol sales tax collections struggle to recover footing; Johnson City collections make moderate increase

May was another lackluster month for Northeast Tennessee sales tax collections.

The three-county Johnson City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) almost reached the year-to-date collections growth rate for Northeast Tennessee, and its year-over-year collections were better than the state year-over-year rate and on par with the state and most metro areas. But it wasn’t enough to compensate for Kingsport-Bristol MSA’s collections doldrums.

A review of the seasonally adjusted collections data from Middle Tennessee State University and Core Data shows Kingsport-Bristol has only managed to match last year’s market share performance one month so far this year. The four-county MSA’s year-to-date collections are 2% below the total for the first five months of last year.  April and May’s collections were positive when compared to the same months last year, but it hasn’t been enough to recover from a negative first quarter that included a 12% February decline.

Here’s how May’s collections looked in Northeast Tennessee’s four metro areas when compared to April:

Johnson City MSA – up 3.9%

Knoxville MSA – up 3%

Morristown – down 0.5%

Kingsport-Bristol – down 5.5%

Tennessee up 2.8%

Here’s the snapshot compared to May last year:

Johnson City – up 8%

Knoxville – up 6.3%

Morristown – up 6.1%

Kingsport-Bristol – up 1.5%

Tennessee up 8.2%

Collections on the Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (CSA) level were up 11.4% from last year in Chattanooga-Cleveland; up 6.3% in Knoxville-Morristown; and up 4.7% in Johnson City – Kingsport- Bristol. Knoxville-Moriston had an 11.8% market share of statewide collections. Chattanooga-Cleveland’s share was 6.7%, and Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol had a 4.3% sales of statewide collections. That pattern conforms to other metrics that show that while there’s growth in the Tri-Cities economy, it lags the performance of the surrounding areas.

So far this year the seasonally adjusted collections in the Johnson City MSA are $80.2 million and $84.8 million in the Kingsport-Bristol MSA.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economic activity, increased moderately in May according to the Commerce De3partment.


Categories: ECONOMY