Sales tax revenues climb higher than recent years
April 12, 2018
Haines Borough sales tax revenues spiked in 2017-climbing higher than they've been in at least four years.
The borough's coffers saw $3.17 million in sales tax revenues last year, a 6.3 percent increase from 2016.
Breaking it down by sectors, last year's tourism spending saw the largest increase. Sales tax revenues from charters, tours, transportation and art galleries soared by almost 16 percent compared to 2016. The borough received $579,000 in sales tax revenues associated with tourism last year, compared to $499,000 in 2016.
Borough finance director Jila Stuart said almost all borough tour companies reported increases, including summer tour and winter heli-ski companies, and that several businesses experienced "substantial increases."
Haines Rafting Company owner Andy Hedden said although he didn't see an increase in tours, his rafting equipment rental business was above projected revenue.
Haines saw an increase in cruise ship traffic last summer by more than 10,000 passengers compared to 2016. Overall visitor traffic increased by more than 17,000 people during the same time, according to borough data.
A new tourist shuttle company, Haines Shuttle, began operating last summer.
Retail, which includes groceries, liquor, hardware, fuel and other stores, saw the second-highest growth. Retail revenues, the lion's share of sales tax income, increased by 6.6 percent to $1.38 million in 2017 from $1.29 million in 2016.
People spent less on construction last year. The borough received $78,000 in construction sales tax revenues in 2017 compared to $82,000 in 2016. Construction includes general contractors, carpenters, plumbers and trade workers. Construction is the smallest contributor to sales tax revenues in the borough.
The combined category of lodging and eating and drinking saw an increase of between 2 to 3 percent between 2016 and 2017.