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Figures paint promising picture

Sales tax collection figures for the past 10 months depict a promising picture on the retail front. Denton’s collections reflect a 15 percent increase, or $2.8 million, over last year’s collections for the same time period.

In reviewing the sales tax collections on a month-by-month basis, the growth has come in spurts, varying from highs ranging from 13 percent to 21 percent to lows of between 5 percent and 7 percent. And, in one month, sales tax collection figures were slightly distorted because of a $407,000 audit adjustment, city officials say.

Still, the picture shows a growing retail market in Denton, as has been evident in the new restaurants, downtown growth and renovations of the city’s mall — not to mention the significant industrial development near the Denton Airport.

Together, the future for Denton appears to be brightening after a long recessionary period.

In Texas, sales tax revenues in July for June sales show an 18.5 percent increase compared with the same period last year. Double-digit increases were seen statewide in cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Robert Bland, chairman of the University of North Texas Public Administration Department, says the momentum in the local and state economy serves as a sign for future employment opportunities.

“A lot of people say the numbers are good, but they don’t yet feel it in their pocketbooks,” he said.

The region is still recovering from the effects of the 2007-08 economic downturn, Bland says.

“What we see is that it was a very deep and extensive recession that affected many sectors of the economy. It will take longer to repair the damage and restore confidence in the consumer for things to get back to normal.”

We agree with Bland’s assessment of the local and statewide economy. Residents are making repairs, buying necessities and spending some funds for fun, but it is not yet back to the same levels as before the Great Recession.

In fact, the percentage fluctuations each month are — we believe — reflective of the cautious approach consumers are still taking in expenditures.

It is, however, looking much better than it has in recent years. And that is good news.