Texas’ the economy is “booming” with no signs of slowing as businesses in other states like California voluntarily close during the surge in cases.
“With Christmas shopping boosted by the early start of the holiday promotional pricing weeks ahead of Black Friday, and despite supply chain lockdowns and household budgets under pressure from rising food prices and gasoline, consumer spending has driven double-digit increases in retail revenue,” Texas Republican Comptroller Glenn Hegar said, according to dallas morning news.
Texas introduced more sales tax than ever before in December, reach $3.6 billion. Texas only recorded four months before the pandemic when sales taxes collected $3 billion or more. Now, the state has recorded nine consecutive months, from April through December, of meeting or exceeding the benchmark.
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Hegar said consumers sent texas economy “thriving” in all major sectors.
“But double-digit growth continued in revenue at hardware and furniture stores, sporting and hobby stores and general online merchants, segments boosted a year ago by habits of pandemic-related expenses,” Hegar said.
“Restaurant revenue, another depressed sector a year ago, has also risen sharply and well above pre-pandemic levels.”
A budget analyst at the nonprofit Every Texan Policy Institute said Hegar’s report proves he’s been “very conservative” in his revenue projections. She said the state would end up with $2 billion more in sales tax than Hegar’s projected $38.6 billion in consumption tax.
“If things continue as they are in the first four months of fiscal 2022, we’ll end up with a few billion more in sales tax alone,” analyst Eva DeLuna Castro told the Dallas Morning News.
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“Again, this is only for one year of the two-year budget,” she said, adding that the report does not show a slowdown in the omicron variant of the virus.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Monday night that “Texas is the #1 state for business.”
Meanwhile, companies in other states are shutting down as the omicron variant hits the country. Restaurants and bars in The San Francisco Bay Area are voluntarily closing on a temporary basis and laying off dozens of employees.
The rate of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in Texas was 15,197 compared to 13,117 in California, according to Statista data as of Dec. 16.
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“These are really tough decisions and we’re tired of trying to figure it out,” Christian Albertson, owner of The Monk’s Kettle in San Rafael, says ABC 7.
He said the restaurant would be closed until spring and had laid off around 35 workers – none of whom had recently tested positive for the virus.
“Upending everyone’s life is really the hardest part,” he said.
“We feel morally responsible to provide customers and staff with a safe environment to dine in, right now is a dangerous time.”
Albertson noted “we will be back”.
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Other restaurants and bars in the neighborhood do the same. The Papermill Creek Saloon in West Marin will be closed through Jan. 12, while San Francisco restaurants Piperaide, Che Fico and Cassava are also temporarily closing, and four bars in SF’s Castro neighborhood have closed over the holidays, according to ABC 7.
“We already had one of our employees who had a breakthrough COVID infection, we didn’t want anyone else to get sick,” said Joe Cappelletti, owner of San Francisco bar Moby Dick.