Angelina Co. officials concerned over sales taxes and layoffs

Angelina Co. officials concerned over sales taxes and layoffs

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - City of Lufkin and Angelina County officials are closely monitoring the sales tax revenue after recent layoffs.

Over the last several weeks, General Electric has announced an estimated 500 layoffs affecting their Lufkin division. Wednesday, T&B Construction announced 20 layoffs from their 80 person staff. The construction company has several jobs involved in the oil and gas industry.

"You can receive the benefits of those low gas prices, but then with the low oil prices comes an impact on your employment, your industry, and your businesses that depend on it," Lufkin City Manager Keith Wright said.

Wright's concern is that the people that are laid off will not be able to spend what they have been spending at the businesses around Lufkin.

Over the last 12 months the city and county have pushed to raise their numbers.

In the February report from the state comptroller, Lufkin saw a 13.4 percent increase over this time last year. The total number brought in for the month was $1.56 million; up from $1.49 million.

The county on the other hand a slight decrease of an estimated 7 percent. The county brought in $623,062 compared to $665,473.

"It will be hard to see the effect right way," said Angelina County Auditor Eddie Gray. "We get these numbers two months behind, so the affect from the layoffs will not be seen until May or June."

Both Wright and Gray agree they could be seeing more red in the future.

"We will see a reduction in our sales tax once these layoffs start," Gray said.

In 2014, the city saw multiple months of a negative sales tax causing the city council to put a hold on hiring. The council considered cutting back on some projects. It's a formula the administration always has in their back pocket.

"We are always analyzing what kind of funds we have coming in," Wright said. "If there are any adjustments we need to make to react to that, then that is a possibility."

Gray said while the city has that luxury, the county is not the lucky.

"There aren't any projects that we can pull back on," Gray said. "So, basically, what we will have to do is cut back on our expenditures."

In the meantime, the two say they will wait for numbers to roll in before reacting to the predicted sales tax drop.

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