Last week, Alameda City Council reviewed the quarterly sales tax numbers. Retail sales tax in Alameda was the hardest hit, business-to-business sales tax revenue the least hardest hit.
For the period from March 1 through June 30, 2009, the most recent period for which numbers are available from the State Board of Equalization, the Transportation category for taxable sales was down 55.8%, from the same quarter in 2008, owing to the closures of new car businesses in Alameda. The Business-to-Business category, which is based on transactions between companies, and not direct consumer spending in Alameda, was down only 3.6%.
The Park, North of Lincoln district of Alameda was down 63.4% from the same quarter, previous year; that district is where new car businesses used to reside in Alameda. But the Park, South of Lincoln district – where the Alameda Cineplex and Parking Garage reside – was also down: 24% In absolute dollars, sales tax revenue from the Theater district was $142,609 in Q2, 2009, less than even the first quarter of 2006, in which $152,456 in sales tax was reported. Boosters of the garage and cineplex have long promised retail sales tax manna from heaven resulting from the taxpayer subsidies to build the facilities, but it’s not raining yet. One bright spot was Alameda Point, which was up 9.5% from the previous year, due to business-to-business transactions. Likewise, Harbor Bay Business Park, with little retail and mostly business operations, including Peet’s Coffee, was up 3.8%
With the dramatic 55.8% drop in the Transportation category, and the greater 63.4% drop in sales from the Park, North of Lincoln district, one might expect that the Theater district’s share of sales tax relative to other areas of Alameda would grow. Not so. The Park, South of Lincoln districts share of City sales tax revenues held constant at 10.4% in the second quarter, down from 10.7% in Q2, 2008; down from 12% in Q2, 2007, and down from 11.3% in Q2, 2006.
The Webster, North of Lincoln district realized a 24.8% decline, and the Webster, South of Lincoln district suffered a similar 24.9% decline. Bridgeside Center: -24.2%. Marina Village Shopping Center: -5.1% Alameda Towne Centre: -1.9%. If the cineplex and parking garage were such drivers of economic activity, one would expect that their share of tax revenue would grow in the face of dramatic declines in all other retail-concentrated sales tax districts in Alameda. But the theater district’s share of overall tax revenue isn’t growing.
You can see charts of these numbers on Action Alameda New here.