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Spokane Consumers Bring Jump to Taxable Retail Sales

Spokane consumers were in a buying mood last summer. They made taxable retail sales jump by more than 9 percent over the year before. The Washington Department of Revenue tallied up two-point-one six billion dollars in retail sales in Spokane County in the third quarter last year for a rate of increase which exceeded even King County, the state's most populous.

The City of Spokane recorded about half that total, a jump of more than 7 percent over the same time in 2013.

Most of the strength in retail spending, categories in which sales are subject to state and local sales taxes, came in online and mail order items. That category soared by nearly 20 percent across the state. Lawn and garden supplies were also strong - not surprising during the short growing season; RV, boat and motorcycles were popular, too - up nearly 15 percent from the year before.

The only sector of the statewide economy which dropped during the quarter was agriculture, forestry and fishing - down about 14 percent from the same time the year before.

This is the first report which includes sales of recreational marijuana, Weed sales were a cash cow for the state because of a 25 percent excise tax on the stuff. But it's impossible to say how much of a boost it provided for the Spokane County and eastern Washington economy.

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