Sales tax collections in 2013 eclipsed the $4 million mark in Buda, a record for the city and a sign that its growing population is spending more of its money locally, according to figures from the state Comptroller’s office website.
A strengthening economy seems to have made more people comfortable spending their money, said Ann Miller, executive director of the Buda Economic Development Corp.
Despite a year in which no major retailers arrived, local sales tax collections in 2013 rose 16 percent from the previous year, according to the state Comptroller’s office.
That is what makes the feat so surprising, Miller said. Mom and pop stores and other smaller retailers opened in 2013 but none with the name recognition of Cabela’s, for example.
Cabela’s, which opened in 2005, continues to be a boon to sales tax revenue, but its influence has maxed out over the years, Miller said.
What this likely means, she said, is that Buda is becoming a more attractive shopping destination for its natives.
“People are staying here more than going to Austin,” Miller said. “People are shopping locally and staying in town.”
It has been a decade of positive gains in sales tax collections for Buda. The city now brings in more in a typical quarter than it did in all of 2002, during which sales tax collections failed to reach the $1 million mark.
In 10 years, sales tax revenue has climbed nearly 230 percent, according to data from the Texas Comptroller’s office.
The Retail Coach, a consulting firm the city procured to help it attract more retailers, conducted a study that found Buda’s average household brings in about $96,000 annually, which means residents here have more disposable income than a typical family.
According to the U.S. census, the median household income from 2008–12 was about $53,000.
Another discovery was that the typical Buda household spends between 112 percent to 172 percent more on retail than the national average.
“That makes us attractive to retailers,” Miller said. “It just means we have money to spend, and we’re spending it locally.”
But if retailers don’t locate in Buda soon, they could miss the boat, Miller said.
With a limited geographical area and many likely to capitalize on the market, demand is going to drive the price up, she said.
“If they are not considering locating in Buda in the next couple of years, I think they are going to miss out on this opportunity,” Miller said.