The City of Santa Monica Finance Department’s analysis of second quarter sales tax shows an adjusted increase of 4.2 percent over the same quarter a year ago. Actual receipts were impacted by State delays in distributing payments from certain auto dealers. The impact of this is estimated to be approximately $240,000.
Most major business groups in the City showed small to moderate increases when compared to the same period last year. The General Consumer Retail Goods category, the City’s largest tax-generating business group, was essentially flat. as increases from apparel stores and electronic/appliance stores were offset by decreases from specialty stores, primarily due to a one-time adjustment in the prior year.
Restaurants and Hotels increased by 3.9 percent, Business and Industry by 18.3 percent, primarily due to one-time adjustments, Food and Drugs by 7 percent and Construction by 4.8 percent. Autos and Transportation, the City’s second largest tax-generating group, decreased by 12.8 percent due to a late distribution related to auto dealers noted above. Taking into account the late payment, the group was essentially even with the same quarter last year.
Results from the different geographic areas in the City were mixed when compared to the same period last year. The Third Street Promenade area was up 12.8 percent, primarily due to increases from apparel stores and specialty stores. The Ocean Avenue/Hotel area increased by 19.3 percent, primarily due to higher restaurant sales. Other areas showing increases were Colorado Ave. (10.6 percent), primarily due to a one time payment related to prior activity, Broadway (6.6 percent), Santa Monica Place (2.7 percent), and the Airport area (2.9 percent). Santa Monica Boulevard was down 15.6 percent but flat after adjusting for the delayed distribution by the State. The next largest revenue producing area Wilshire Boulevard was down 4.7 percent. Ocean Park decreased 49 percent due to a one-time payment in the prior year and Bayside District was down 7.3 percent primarily due to business closures. Other areas showing a decrease were Pico, Olympic and Lincoln Boulevards, Main Street and Montana Avenue. “Overall, sales tax revenues are growing at a moderate rate as the local economy continues its slow steady recovery mirroring the national and state economies,” said Chief Financial Officer Steve Stark. “We will continue to monitor the sales tax receipts throughout the fiscal year. There are continuing concerns regarding the national, state, and local economies including higher energy prices, the threat of higher inflation, and higher interest rates, which could have impacts on the local economy and taxable sales in the future.”