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Sales tax numbers, recent investments encouraging signs

Despite the gloomy news from Washington and the rising prices at the gas pumps, there are some bright spots on the economic front here at home.

The recently released January state Department of Revenue report showed Brookhaven collected $510,014 in sales taxes in December, a considerable jump from the $463,000 in sales taxes taken in during December 2 011.

The increase shows a strengthening of the local economy as the region gradually rebounds from the recession, and the greater tax collections also are a boost for our local government. City officials cautiously set their budgets for each month last year based on a $410,000 tax estimate. And each month in 2012, tax collections were consistently stronger than that projection.

While sales tax collections are a strong indicator of the state of the economy, there also are other signs that point toward increasing confidence in the area.

Out on Highway 51, Tillman Furniture’s big new building is taking shape next to Jeff Wilson Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, which opened last year. Tillman will move from its existing store to the new location later this year.

On the Boulevard, storefronts continue to be filled at the shopping center behind Wendy’s and C Spire, which opened in its new building last year.

Downtown Brookhaven also has a new business on the horizon, as a Natchez restaurateur works on getting ready to open Pasta Junction in the Inez Hotel building. Plans call for the new eatery to open the first or second week in April.

While increasing gas prices are something we’d all rather not see, there is a silver lining to that dark cloud. Higher prices at the pump may give area residents second thoughts about a trip out of town for purchases, thus helping fuel local cash registers instead of those in Jackson, McComb or Natchez.

We’d all do better to keep as many of our shopping dollars at home as possible. The money we spend here comes back home through tax dollars that help our local government and eventually filter back into our infrastructure. Buying locally also helps keep our neighbors at work and encourages new businesses to come here.

Shopping at home is one step we can all take to help build our local economy.