By Frank Lewis
Portsmouth City Auditor Trent Williams likes what he sees in the recent trend in income tax revenue in the city.
“After a spiked year of high income tax collections that we had last year, in every spiked year upwards that we’ve had, there has always been a pretty severe spike downward the following year,” Williams said.
Portsmouth had a record year for income tax revenue in 2013, picking up $10 million.
“I just gave (City) Council a report that through the first quarter of this year the trend of actually being higher than the previous year is still there,” Williams said. “We ended up $50,000 higher in more collections this year than the previous year. That is the first three months of this year compared to the first three months of last year.”
Williams is at a loss to come up with a full explanation of why the upward trend continued following last year’s spike.
“It has really just been a steady gain over the last couple of years here,” Williams told the Daily Times. “The big part of the increase two years ago was the increase in the rate itself.”
At that time, voters gave the city an income tax increase taking the current rate to two percent.
“That aside, the income tax has gained a few percent each year for as long as we have had it except for two years,” Williams said. “fifty-thousand dollars is not a huge increase over the previous year when you’re talking about $10 million in revenue, but it’s just a small, steady increase. I can’t really single out any one particular type of business in town or anything that is driving it. But hopefully it’s a good sign that we have a steady, if not growing, economy.”
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.