Waco and its suburbs received generally good news this week from State Comptroller Glenn Hegar, who sent sales tax rebates totaling $709.2 million to cities and other taxing entities statewide.

That figure is 9.5 percent more than the refunds Hegar distributed in January of last year. Rebates received in January reflect sales in November reported to the Comptroller’s Office in December.

The city of Waco received a rebate fractionally more than $3 million, about 2.4 percent more than that it received a year earlier.

Waco places its rebates in the general fund that covers a variety of expenses, including police and fire protection.

Hewitt continues to reap the benefits of the Walmart at Interstate 35 and Sun Valley Boulevard. It received a $191,969 rebate, $51,324 or 36.6 percent more than last January’s. This is the first month the sales tax benefit has reflected city leaders’ estimates that the store would bring an additional $50,000 to $100,000 monthly.

Another Waco neighbor, Bellmead, received a check for $306,702, a 7.2 percent increase from January 2017.

Elsewhere, Robinson enjoyed a 23.4 percent jump, while Woodway, West, Lacy Lakeview and Beverly Hills also saw increases.

Lorena saw a dip of 0.2 percent. McGregor experienced a 4.4 percent drop, and Crawford saw a 19.5 percent decline.

Rebates received in January take into account the launch of the holiday shopping season in November, specifically on Black Friday.

Published reports indicate holiday shopping surged this year, with the U.S. Department of Commerce reporting an 0.8 percent increase between October and November, better than analysts had projected.

A MasterCard SpendingPulse report released Dec. 26 shows retail sales increased 4.9 percent compared to last year. The report covers Nov. 1 through Dec. 23. That increase was more than the National Retail Federation’s prediction that retail sales during the holidays would increase 3.6 to 4 percent from last year.

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