Joplin releases sales tax numbers for 2020, results surprising to officials

JOPLIN, Mo. – Back in May officials with the City of Joplin were concerned about sales tax revenues during the pandemic. Now, the report for this year is out and the numbers, aren’t exactly where they were expected to be.

“…And so we know that our sales tax will be definitely impacted.” That was from our interview with Joplin’s Finance Director, Leslie Haase, back in May of this year. With business shut downs and modified operations, Joplin and other cities across the nation had concerns about sales tax revenues. Now, those sales tax numbers for the year have come in. Haase says “I think that they’re surprising to everyone that I’m talking to, that it surprises me a little bit certainly from what I thought in the beginning.”

Those numbers weren’t as dire as expected, in fact, they were up. “So we actually did receive the final month of our fiscal year, October was up about five point four percent over the same month last year, so for the fiscal year we’re up almost one and a half percent over last year.”

There were three major contributing categories: auto sales, home construction, and one of the biggest, discount stores. Lance Nichols owns B&B Discount in Joplin. Like Haase, he had concerns at the beginning of the pandemic. “Sure there was a concern of how business was going to go, we were wondering whether we should shut down or not.”

But again, like Haase, he found out, that wasn’t the case as he saw a number of new faces begin shopping in his store. “In this type of pandemic I think people are a little strapped for money and everybody’s looking for a bargain, I don’t really know of too many people who just like to pay retail, so, people are bargain hunting these days.” Haase says “I think it tells a very interesting story about COVID, about what people have been working on and purchasing during this COVID time.”

Below are the two reports. The first is the Monthly Sales Tax data.

Monthly Sales Tax Report

The next report below is the Quarterly Sales Tax data.

Quarterly Sales Tax Comparison