Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Benton County Bubble

The gloating of the Philistines might be coming to an end. Reports on home sales and sales tax collections for October are in, and things are not looking up. Seven years of George Bush and six years of John Boozman are coming home to roost for their stalwart supporters in the state's most Republican county. Can't blame these cold facts on Gay Mexicans.

Benton County real estate agents sold 28.8% fewer homes in October than in the same month last year, in contrast to the statewide drop of 12.2%, and some saw it coming. Year-to-date home sales were down 17.7% in the county, compared to 9.1% statewide. While the county still has the highest average home prices in the state, those prices fell 9.1% in October, more than three times greater than the statewide drop of 3.0%.

The real kicker is that October 2007 sales tax revenue for Rogers fell to $912,582, down from $971,997 in October 2006, a 6% drop and almost $70,000, according to numbers released by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. Sales tax revenue for Benton County was down 9% from $996,508 in October 2006 to $905,638 in October 2007 -- more than a $90,000 shortfall.

Richard McComas, the Benton County comptroller, said, “I think the economy is in somewhat of a recession." Ya think?

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