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Spending is up across South Mississippi

STAFF PHOTO 
 The Gulf Coast Restaurant Group, owner of eight Half Shell Oyster Houses, including this one in downtown Biloxi, filed the winning submission for a restaurant in Gulfport's harbor. Lease terms are being negotiated for an elevated building at the harbor's south end.
STAFF PHOTO The Gulf Coast Restaurant Group, owner of eight Half Shell Oyster Houses, including this one in downtown Biloxi, filed the winning submission for a restaurant in Gulfport's harbor. Lease terms are being negotiated for an elevated building at the harbor's south end.
 

Residents and visitors in South Mississippi spent more at stores and restaurants in every Coast city in May.

This is the first time since November all 12 Coast cities posted an increase in sales taxes compared with the same month last year.

Area businesses collect 7 percent sales tax and pay it to the state Department of Revenue. The state diverts 18.5 percent of that to the cities where the sales tax was generated. Since the state fiscal year began July 1, Coast cities have seen strong gains in sales-tax diversions, putting an additional $1.9 million in their general funds compared with the previous fiscal year.

Gulfport, where the diversion remains well ahead of the other cities at $1.8 million, saw an increase of $155,000 from a year ago.

Biloxi's diversion now has topped $1 million during four of the first five months this year, according to Department of Revenue reports. The city was up $69,000 from a year ago.

D'Iberville has the third-highest diversion on the Coast at $515,700, an increase of $62,000 from May 2015. Ocean Springs also had a strong month with an additional $26,000 in sales tax diversion.

May sales-tax diversions coastwide were up $421,000 in May after being up $44,000 in April.

­-- Staff, wire reports

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