Calcasieu tax director: Economy 'stable'

By By Lance Traweek / American Press

The 1.8 percent increase in taxable sales over the last 12 months indicates the Calcasieu Parish economy is “stable” and “still

moving in a positive direction,” said John Collins, director of sales tax for the parish.

“It’s not indicative of the boom everyone is looking for, but it’s good movement that suggests consumer confidence,” Collins

said Monday. “The local economy is not accelerating at the pace that a lot of people anticipated by this time.”

The parish brought in about $4.5 billion in 2012 compared to $4.6 billion in 2013. With more than $62 billion worth of capital

investments coming to Southwest Louisiana, Collins expects that to increase in the coming year.

Seven of the 11 categories showed increased activity: food, apparel, automotive, furniture, building materials, miscellaneous

services (hotels, hospitals, rentals) and motor vehicles.

Apparel had the most significant increase at 13.7 percent.

“People are enjoying the benefits of employment,” he said. “People may be securing new wardrobes for job interviews as more

job seekers come to the area.”

He also mentioned that more traffic in the area is evidence of the sound local economy.

The four categories that showed

decreases for the period were merchandise, manufacturing, utilities and

miscellaneous (bookstores,

tobacco shops, funeral homes).

“Consumers may short change one purchase for the acquisition of food or apparel,” he said. “One has to be a sacrifice for

the other.”

However, most of the 10 percent decrease in the miscellaneous category is contributed to people filing on a one-time basis,

he said.

The trend analysis is released monthly.