Bexar County's red hot retail sales continue to surge, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  Sales tax collection figures released today by the State Comptroller's office,  which are the best gauge of retail sales activity, show sales tax collections in Bexar County up an amazing 19.8% over April of 2013.


  The April figures are significant because the one eighth cent sales tax increase to pay for the Pre-K for SA program kicked in in April of 2013.  So today's figures show that the surge in sales tax collections is driven entirely by stronger retail sales, and not by the increase in the tax rate.


  The Bexar County increase is more than double the 7% increase in retail sales reported statewide, and significantly above the 9.4% increase in retail sales seen in Dallas County, and the 10% increase reported last month in Travis County.


  Bexar County's retail sales growth is due to two factors, economists say  One is the growth in population, which means more people are living in the county and spending money in the stores.  Second, is what economists call a 'wealth halo.'  With home values rising and money being pumped into the region by the booming Eagle Ford shale, people simply feel richer, and are more likely to spend money.


  Since sales taxes are not collected on basic necessities like food, higher sales tax revenue is a good measure of discretionary spending.