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Retail Sales Tax Revenue

Retail Sales Tax Revenue

Definition

Retail sales tax is levied on sales, purchases, and leases of personal property and taxable services in the city. Examples of businesses that pay this tax include grocery stores, restaurants, retail stores, and recreational and medical marijuana.

Target

Maintain or increase sales tax revenues to projected levels.

Significance

Tracking and comparing data from year to year helps the city monitor the economic health of the community and better forecast revenue projections. This information guides future budget discussions and decisions. 

Trend

Since 2009, sales tax revenues in the city have steadily increased. 

Determining the increase in base revenue can be complicated by the implementation of temporary tax rate increases. The city had two recently approved temporary increases for dedicated purposes. In 2014, .15 percent was approved for transportation. This increment ends in 2019. In 2015, .30 percent was approved for community, culture and safety projects. This increment ends in 2017. The amounts in the top and middle graphs are actual amounts received, and the large spikes in 2014 and 2015 are due in part to these tax rate increases. 

To determine if there is an increase in the base revenue amount, the city normalizes the rate (which shows the percentage increase/decrease in dollars from one year to the next as if the temporary tax increase were not in place) to better reflect the underlying economic activity in the city and enable city staff to more readily determine if revenue targets are being met. These normalized year-to-year percentage changes are shown in the bottom graph. In 2015, the normalized base revenue increased 4.59 percent over 2014 normalized based revenue. 

More details on the city's sales and use tax revenue can be found in monthly reports dating back to 2010.

About the Data:  This data is provided by the City of Boulder's Finance Department. This page will be updated monthly.

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