Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish rose by 3.8 percent in July, the sixth month in a row that activity outstripped 2013 figures.
Sales tax collection figures released Friday by the city-parish Finance Department show businesses and consumers spent $682.5 million in July. That compares with nearly $657.4 million in spending in July 2013.
The figures do not include vehicle sales, which are generally examined separately when looking at spending as an economic indicator.
July was the first full month that retail sales at the Mall of Louisiana were included in the numbers for the city and not outside the city limits, and the numbers bore that change out.
Spending, excluding vehicles, within the Baton Rouge city limits was up 10.8 percent in July to nearly $372 million. But spending outside the city limits of Baton Rouge were down nearly 3.5 percent in July to $310.5 million.
The city-parish’s recent annexation of much of the mall and Baton Rouge General Medical Center’s Bluebonnet Boulevard campus took effect on June 15. Former state Rep. Woody Jenkins, a vocal proponent of the proposed city of St. George, is fighting the move, contending that the annexation isn’t valid because it doesn’t meet state and local requirements for compactness.
Vehicle sales were down 2.9 percent from the year before, reaching $62.9 million for the month.
Overall tax collections for the city-parish, which include vehicle sales, were up 3.2 percent in July to $14.9 million.
For the first seven months of the year, spending in the parish, excluding vehicle sales, ran 2.6 percent ahead of 2013’s pace, to reach $4.7 billion.
Spending is up 5.7 percent in the Baton Rouge city limits, at nearly $2.6 billion. The total is down 0.9 percent outside the city limits, at $2.1 billion.
Tax collections through July, which includes vehicle sales, are up 2.7 percent, at nearly $103 million.