State Comptroller Glen Hegar reports that continued weakness in manufacturing and wholesale trade, combined with persistently lower levels of oil and gas drilling, has brought sales and related tax revenue down for the state.
He said that the tax income from restaurants and retail trade is up a bit but not enough to overcome the drop in tax collections from industry, and perhaps more importantly, the drop in oil prices that has slowed down oil and gas drilling.
Just how much is sales tax down? About 2.2%, says Hegar, compared with last year in the same period.
To look at a breakdown of where tax revenue comes from in the state, we were surprised to see how much of it comes from motor vehicle sales and rental taxes.
In November 2016, Texas collected the following revenue from taxes at least loosely related to our vehicles:
motor vehicle sales and rental taxes — $380.2 million, up 7.3 percent from November 2015;
motor fuels taxes — $303.1 million, up 2.8 percent from November 2015; and
oil and natural gas production taxes — $253.5 million,
The above, though much smaller than the $2.5 billion in overall sales tax the state gets, are real heavyweights in tax income for Texas. It appears that if we all went back to horse and carriage, our state would go be in trouble—unless of course they put a heavy tax on… oats?