East Baton Rouge sales-tax revenues continued their upward trend in April, increasing by 9.77 percent over April of 2011.
According to City-Parish records, it was the biggest increase since October of 2008, when East Baton Rouge sales tax revenues skyrocketed by 17.75 percent in the wake of Hurricane Gustav.
Figures released today showed that the 2-percent sales tax dedicated to the City-Parish general fund totaled $14.37 million in April, an increase of $1.28 million over April of 2011. For the first four months of 2012, East Baton Rouge sales-tax receipts have totaled $56.4 million, an increase of 8.06 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden said the latest sales-tax report shows that the East Baton Rouge economy is continuing its strong rebound from the national recession, with the help of a continuing national bowling tournament and a thriving film industry.
In addition, the opening of the North Boulevard Town Square in April may have also contributed to the local sales-tax surge by drawing thousands of people to Live After Five concerts, festivals and other downtown events, Mayor Holden said.
“I am told that many of the people who attended the concerts and events at the new Town Square stayed afterward to patronize our downtown restaurants and other businesses,” the Mayor said.”Between those events and the USBC tournament, East Baton Rouge Parish businesses were extremely busy in April.”
The U.S. Bowling Congress Open Championships, which began Feb. 11 and continues through July 10, is expected to draw more than 100,000 people from across the country. With most bowlers staying between three and four days, the event is projected to have a $100 million economic impact on the Baton Rouge area.
This is the second time that the tournament has been held in Baton Rouge. The tournament was held here for the first time in 2005, and that event was so successful that Mayor Holden and local tourism officials launched an all-out effort to get the tournament to return toBaton Rouge. They not only succeeded, but are already talking to USBC officials about getting the tournament to return to Baton Rougefor a third time.
The Mayor also credited Baton Rouge’s growing film industry as a major factor behind the thriving sales-tax receipts.
Movie and television projects spent an estimated $208 million here in 2011, thanks in part the Baton Rouge Film Commission that Holden created in 2005. Already this year, Baton Rouge has 28 television and film projects lined up, including a $56-million Tom Cruise film that completed filming here earlier this month.
Baton Rouge’s diversified economy helped the City-Parish to avoid the massive shortfalls that forced many U.S. cities to lay off workers and cut services during the recent recession, Holden said.
For more information, go to www.brgov.com/dept/finance/