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Where have all our sales taxes gone?

The Lege would like to know.

“The situation is not good,” said Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, who has asked representatives of Comptroller Susan Combs to testify before his Appropriations Committee.

State revenues remain “well short” of predictions, although sales tax receipts showed a modest gain last month, Pitts, the House’s chief budget writer, said Monday.

“The members of Appropriations need to know what they’re facing next session,” he said.

Pitts said sales tax receipts in April increased by 1.4 percent over the same month a year earlier, ending a string of 14 consecutive months of decreases.

“We’re now comparing this year to a bad year. April 2009 wasn’t good,” he said.

“But at least it’s in the up direction,” Pitts said of last month’s gain. “We hope it sustains.”

Clothes and electronics are responsible for much of the uptick, with car sales improving as well. Remember, comparisons to this time last year are a comparison to a month in which we were in a recession. We’d darned well better be ahead of that! As such, the current trend will have to do a lot more than just maintain to avoid anything but the high-end deficit projections for the next biennium. We’re still in a pretty deep hole.

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