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Auto sales boost tax revenues

A strong rebound in auto and truck sales boosted fourth-quarter sales tax revenues in Washington and the five most populous counties, the Department of Revenue reported today.

Retail sales for the October-December period rose 5.7 percent compared with 2009, to $12.9 billion

Retail trade sales, which include construction and other industrial sectors, climbed 5.8 percent from 2009, to $26.8 billion in the October-December period.

Total retail trade sales in Spokane County rose 1.7 percent to $926 million, but fell .7 percent in the City of Spokane, to $492 million.

The gains in retail sales were led by new and used car dealers, where revenues rose 11.7 percent compared with the 2009 quarter. Construction continued to be a drag, falling 6.8 percent.

Despite the increases over 2009, the department noted retail trade sales were below levels for 2007 and 2006. Overall retail sales remained below levels for the years 2005 through 2008.

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Bert Caldwell
Bert Caldwell oversees production of the opinion pages, including writing editorials, and editing and selecting letters, columns and cartoons.