ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – The City of Odessa released its sales tax revenue report for the month of September. The amount is more than 35% below the revenue from this time last year.
“It’s a number that we don’t usually see. Haven’t seen numbers this low in several years,” explained Odessa Chamber of Commerce’s Director of Economic Development, Wesley Burnett.
Burnett says it is a statistic he has not seen since 2016, another time in Odessa’s history, when the oil industry was seeing a bust. He explains the only difference now is the double whammy of a global pandemic.
“It’s the virus. People aren’t traveling, people aren’t doing those types of things. Oil and gas thing is going to be back, we just don’t know how long it’s going to take,” said Burnett.
Sales tax is the biggest money generator for Odessa. It is also a sector seeing a huge hit compared to numbers from last year. The year-to-date amount is down 18%.
“The travel indusry is probably our biggest impact,” explained Burnett. “Other retailers are feeling the impact, and then of course, the oil and gas service companies and industries that’re cutting back because there’s no drilling going on right now.”
Burnett says environmental factors such a global pandemic, limited traveling and a presidential election could also be a part of the problem.
“I think we’ll be bouncing back very very quickly after that, and I think we’ll see the numbers come back.”
The city could face some drastic cuts if today’s circumstances continue into next year. But some good news for taxpayers, the city has capped the rates for sales and property tax. This means they will not be paying more out of pocket.
“Buy your gas in Odessa, buy your groceries in Odessa, try not to shop online. I know it’s very tempting, and it’s easy. But if you can, spend money locally at a local retail, merchant or something like that. That’s always going to be impactful.”