For years, credit was easy to come by, and people lived it up.
Gwinnett's capital program reaped the benefits, as sales taxes flowed in from the malls.
In today's slowing economy, credit cards aren't getting the same usage any more. People are saving more and spending less, Gwinnett Economist Alfie Meek said.
It's good for the economy, but not great news in terms of sales tax revenues, he said as the county kicked off collections for a 2009 sales tax program - the fifth 1 percent tax program of the past three decades.
"In the short term that hurts, but in the long-term that's good for the economy," Meek said of the trend.
While tax collections have gone down since the peak of $155.3 million in 2006, Meek said the revenues in January, the last amount available, were actually slightly above the 2008 January collections.
Even though the collections ended at midnight Tuesday, the 2005 sales tax program totals won't be available until the end of May.
But Meek said the program had already surpassed the goal of $555 million, as $565 million had been collected through January.
About 70 percent of the money has been obligated to county and city projects, from police stations to parks, but Gwinnett residents will still see the spoils as projects such as the Sugarloaf Parkway extension and the Hamilton Mill library reach completion.
As officials planned the 2009 program, they expected $850 million to be collected over the next five years. But Meek has downgraded that forecast to $785 million.