Springfield Sees Sharp Sales Tax Revenue Changes, Shortfall

By Matt Lupoli | mlupoli@kolr10.com

Published 06/09 2014 09:29PM

Updated 06/09 2014 11:02PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- As Springfield leaders discussed a new budget Monday, they also looked into a sharp decrease in this month's one-percent general sales tax check.

"We are 60 percent reliant on sales tax in Springfield, so when the sales tax fluctuations occur, it really affects our budget," City Manager Greg Burris said. 

Burris said it's hard to pinpoint exactly what's causing the sharp changes.

"Sometimes we are up quite a bit, sometimes we are down quite a bit. I don't suspect the spending is as volatile as the numbers that we're getting from Jefferson City," Burris said. 

Sometimes revenue that's not accounted for in one month shows up in the next report, according to Burris, but June's report showed a large decrease -- a nearly $600,000 shortfall.

"There's a 60 day lag when we get our check. When we go through June and July and August, that will be the last one for that fiscal year. By then we will know, did we rebound in July after being down in June? Maybe," Burris said.

If revenue is indeed decreased by August, the shortfall could affect the budget for city services, such police and fire departments.

Burris said his staff asked the state's department of revenue for clarity on the issue -- a problem other cities and counties face too.

"They say it's a staffing shortage, so until the department of revenue has the staff that's able to process everything each month, we are probably going to continue to suffer this," Burris said.

City leaders will meet Greene County officials on Wednesday morning to discuss several tax exemptions passed by the legislature on the last day of the session.

Gov. Jay Nixon issued a statement on the tax breaks, saying they could pull millions from local government budgets. The joint city-county task force will discuss the potential impact the bills will have during a roundtable discussion. 

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