Texas collected $1.6 billion in sales tax revenue in February from sales in January, down 8.8% from February 2009.

Comptroller Susan Combs said decreases in monthly collections compared to 2009 would continue for several months, with a turnaround expected later this year.

“After eight straight months of double-digit declines, sales tax losses have begun to moderate,” she said.

Combs said sales tax revenue continues to be down in major sectors such as retail, oil and gas production, and construction, but some improvement was seen in the manufacturing sector.

The state will distribute $404.4 million of February sales tax revenues to cities, counties, transit systems, and special taxing districts.

Local allocations are down 6.7% from March 2009. Sales tax distributions to local governments in the first three months of this year are 8.4% lower than the same period of 2009.

Texas cities will receive $271.3 million of sales tax revenue in March. Houston’s $35 million is down almost 12% from last March, with Dallas posting a decline of less than 1% with an allocation of $15.2 million. Other allocations include San Antonio with $14.6 million and Austin with $10.1 million.

The state will distribute $92.7 million to 10 local transportation districts, down 4.7% from March 2009. Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority will receive $35.9 million with $28.3 million for Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

Texas counties will receive $24.4 million, down 11.2% from March 2009, with $15.8 million divided among 166 special-purpose taxing districts.

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