Tri-City sales tax revenue increases

Herald staff writerMay 25, 2014 

The Tri-Cities continued to see more spending on everything from cars to construction last year, helping grow the sales tax revenue the cities depend on to provide services.

Pasco and Richland outpaced the state average when it came to climbing taxable retail sales, according to data recently released by the state Department of Revenue.

Richland saw a 9.5 percent increase to about $990 million last year, while Pasco was up 8.4 percent to about $933 million. The state average was a 7.4 percent gain between last year and the previous year.

Kennewick, meanwhile, continued its pattern of steady growth with a 5.4 percent increase to $1.7 billion, according to the data. Kennewick has seen total taxable sales grow by about 5 percent since 2009.

Sales tax is a key revenue source for services provided by the Tri-Cities. It's something Kennewick has relied on to pay for some of the rising costs caused by growth, said Evelyn Lusignan, Kennewick's customer service manager.

"It's a good sign on the health of our economy here in the Tri-Cities," she said.

The Tri-Cities is adding businesses, seeing commercial and residential construction continue and drawing in more tourists, officials said.

That has helped Kennewick, for example, see more people shopping at its stores and dining at its restaurants, Lusignan said.

Kennewick saw a 4 percent gain in retail trade sales, to more than $1 billion last year. Richland was up by 5 percent to about $438 million, while Pasco saw the highest gain at 8 percent to $471 million. All three cities saw strong motor vehicle sales.

For the most part, the Tri-Cities has seen steady growth in sales at hotels and restaurants since 2009. Richland saw no change between 2011 and 2010, but otherwise sales increased by no less than about 2 percent each year.

All three of the cities saw double-digit increases in the value of construction projects last year compared with 2012.

Kennewick saw a 30 percent increase to about $198 million. Projects included Kennewick Perry Suites, a 14-unit apartment complex for adults with disabilities, a Kadlec Urgent Care clinic and a $1.4 million Gesa Credit Union remodel.

Richland construction grew about 34 percent to $173 million. Projects last year included a new Yoke's Fresh Market, a major remodel of Les Schwab Tire Center and a fair amount of retail construction in the City View area along Duportail Street, said Rick Simon, Richland's development services manager. Richland also issued permits for the second phase of The Lofts at Innovation Center last year.

Pasco construction climbed by 25 percent to $124.9 million. Projects last year included a new St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Bank, a $1 million remodel of Goodwill's new Pasco thrift store and a Grimmway Farms carrot processing plant.

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