LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Numbers released from the Texas Comptroller's Office show a decline in sales tax revenue for both Lufkin and Angelina County.
The office reported the City of Lufkin brought in $1,587,150.36 for the month of December. That figure is down 0.80 percent from last December. For the fiscal year the city is down 3.44 percent. Angelina County brought in $692,255.46. That total was down 4.95 percent. On the year the county is down 7.15 percent. The numbers are reported three months behind.
"We are obviously concerned when we see negative numbers," said Lufkin Assistant City Manager Steve Floyd. "These numbers released today were for December. We think a lot of it has to do with online shopping. We brought in a lot of money but we also know a lot of people shopped online, and we don't see any revenue from that."
News of sales tax revenue numbers being down gave businesses owners different feelings.
Inside Cafe Del Rio, staff prepared for a busy lunch -hour rush. Manager Letty Vargas said the restaurant has seen more traffic this year compared to last.
"Finances are always a concern, but we believe it will be okay," Vargas said.
The high numbers come at the right time as the business prepares to move to their new location on the loop. The new location is currently under construction and should be open by April.
"Right now, we currently have a little under 100 as far as staff goes," Vargas said. "We anticipate to hire 40 to 45 more."
Across town at Angelic Cupcakes, it is a different story for owner Trey Adams, who sees very few customers walk into his brightly colored bakery.
"I've been hanging on, hanging on, hanging on," Adams said. "Right now, we're just underwater. We're drowning. it is really tough."
With slow business, Adams made the hardest decision of his life.
"It's weighing on us hard," Adams said. "We have to close our doors. We have no choice.. Our last day will be the 17th. It's the hardest decision I have had to make."
Adams believes the downturn goes back to massive layoffs over the past few years in town and a vicious election season.
"I kid you not" Adams said. "As soon as they shut down, I was losing customers. Guys that would come in here for their wives on their way home, lost every single one of them. I didn't think the closing of GE was going to affect me, but it did. Everyone doesn't know what's happening next, so they are just hanging on to what they have."
Vargas understands concerns of struggling businesses but is hopeful her momentum will carry on through the year.
"It's scary, but I think Lufkin has made it worthwhile."
For a state-wide look at sales tax revenue, click here.