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Sales Tax Revenue Shows Growing Strength in Downtown Business

Statistics released by the Benicia Economic Development Board indicate increasing tourism is playing a role in increasing sales tax revenue.

The Benicia Economic Development Board has released its annual sales tax revenue results for 2012, indicating increasing tourism as a main factor in downtown businesses' growing economic strength.

According to the recently released statistics, indentified tourism-related tax revenues for Q2 2012 are up 5.33 percent since the same time one year ago. The increase amounts to $48,672 in 2012 from $46,210 in 2011.

The findings compare downtown sales tax revenue to the past four years, noting the downtown area as the strongest over a three-month period. According to the report, Q2 2012 has reported the highest sales tax revenue since 2007, prior to the recession.

According to figures (which can be seen in this story's photo gallery) provided in the report, the statistics provide a direct comparison of Q2 downtown sales tax revenue over the past five years.

According to the report, "This indicates that the implementation of the tourism program has helped put the City of Benicia back on track to achieving pre-recession levels of sales tax revenue."

Robert Livesay January 05, 2013 at 04:14 PM
I have stated many times that the agenda is focused on one thing only. The CSC and their agenda. This agenda must change it takes up far too much valuable staff time. Once you change agenda priorities you can now start to get on the real issues. It is not only econ dev. But Econ Dev does bring in the much needed finances to do all the infra structure work that is needed. It appears no one is willing to tackle the Seeno project at present. That may be OK at present but for sure not in the future. As much as I think that committees are a necessary evil I also know that they can slow down progress. I believe we have the right people in place in Brad and Mario. It seems everytime we turn around their is another deficit problem to solve. What does this do? It creates low moral. Let Brad and Mario have free rein on Econ Dev. It will and can happen. The present small growth rate is just at a break even point. If you want Econ growth you must get aggressive and even step on the toes of a few folks. Do not let the small groups run this city. We must start getting very aggressive. It will work. Go or watch a City Council meeting. In many cases dominated by the CSC. That is wrong.
Bruce January 05, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Richard, I don't know how one could reach your conclusion given the information presented. The tax revenues are rising, reflecting that the local economic is recovering, and you say they are "declining or stunted." Erik & Scott, it seems to me that any reasonably intelligent cost/benefit analysis of the city's investment in tourism needs to be judged over a five to ten year time frame. And why are you assuming that revenues would have remained constant without the city's investment in tourism? Haven't you considered the possibility that revenues could have been much lower without it? Do you have some magical power to be able to discern how much of the revenues were due to the increased investment in tourism, and how much would represent what the city would have received without the consultant? If you can do that, you will undoubtedly win the Nobel Prize in economics. I'm not saying that this consultant is worth every penny - I don't have a crystal ball either. Why this city's most prominent cultural resource - its amazing arts community - isn't on every billboard, brochure, and magazine article about Benicia represents a real lost opportunity that more savvy arts tourism destinations like Ashland or Taos wouldn't fail to capitalize on. But the fact that Benicia has been able to grow in the face of a national - global, even - downturn seems encouraging.
Robert Livesay January 05, 2013 at 04:20 PM
I remember when I worked for the great retailer at the time. Ed Finkelstein. Nothing stood in his way. He got done what was needed. If any of you remember what he didefor Macy's California in the 1960/70 you will understand what I mean. It was not a nice guy approach. It was a group of folks that understood what needed to be done. Guess what is got done and it has contiinued to this day. You want results you must have a plan and aggressively carry it out. It will work. No more nice guy.
Richard Bortolazzo January 05, 2013 at 05:16 PM
Bruce: Don't get me wrong. I am an advocate of economic development. What I said is tax revenues (both sales and property) are continuing to fall. The City government just got notice that property tax revenues fell below budget estimates by $800,000. That totally dwarfs any sales tax increases. And, you are right; we are recovering. Real estate prices are rising, and that will eventually increase assessed values. But, the process is going to be much slower for our community because the community has chosen not to grow. It's a choice, We made it.
Robert Livesay January 05, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Taos is a geo art issue. Ashland is a theatre destination. Both have done well in identifying a market. If you have been to Ashland lately you may be surprised of the shuttered business. The art community in Benicia is in most cases a self supporting group. No deep pockets and appear to want to remain an individual organization. The City of Benicia must identify a theme and persue it. It has not done that at all. Yes some beautificaion does help. I did not see the bridge over crowded to come see our lights. Yes we did enjoy them and would have loved others to come and enjoy also. Till a theme is set to make Benicia a destination nothing will happen. It could be the waterfront, entertainment and dining, art, theatre etc. We do not have one as yet. Look at what Healsburg has done. A farm town to a destnation. Yes they do have the advantage of being a gateway city to the wine country. Get a theme and promote it. It will work.

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