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Harlingen sales tax numbers post rare decline

August 13, 2018

By RICK KELLEY

Staff Writer

HARLINGEN — The City of Harlingen’s two-year march of perpetually increasing sales tax allocations ended this past week when the State Comptroller’s Office reported the city’s return on sales was down 0.84 percent for June.

The city has for months been blessed with monthly sales tax increases in the double digits, including 10.09 percent for May.

For the year the city remains 7.88 percent above last year’s pace when it comes to sales tax allocations.

The sales tax allocation serves as a general indicator of the health of a municipality’s retail sector. These latest allocations are based on sales made in June by businesses that report tax monthly, and sales made in April, May and June by quarterly filers.

“I’ve always said you really have to look at these from a longer period, a year-to-year basis, or at least several months in a row to see what it means,” Mayor Chris Boswell said. “We’ve had such significant increases over a long period of time that it’s not going to be unusual if this flattens out for a while.”

Elsewhere in Cameron County, San Benito was up 4.18 percent for the month, La Feria was u[p 21.62 percent, Rio Hondo was down a miniscule 0.11 percent, South Padre Island was up 0.46 percent, Port Isabel was up 9.27 percent, Los Fresnos was up 17.22 percent and Brownsville posted a loss of 3.97 percent.

In Willacy County, Raymondville posted a loss of 19.51 percent for the month while Lyford was up 7.23 percent.

In Hidalgo County, McAllen continued to show strong growth after almost two years of declining sales tax numbers. For June, the city posted a gain of 9.41 percent, and in May it was up 9.21 percent.

For the year McAllen is now up 6.28 percent.

Mercedes’ retail sector continues to be hurt by the weak peso compared to the dollar and was down 7.06 percent for the month. On the year, Mercedes is down 2.71 percent.

Edinburg was up 5.81 percent, Weslaco was up 5.68 percent and Pharr was up 1.21 percent.

For Harlingen, Boswell said the city’s strong showing for the year continues to come in far above the city’s budget projection when it comes to growth.

The 7.88 percentage increase for the year, he said, was “more than double what we project in our budget, so that’s a good thing … we’re still very pleased with what’s going on.”

Statewide, the Texas economy continues to sizzle. The Texas Office of the Comptroller reported cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts will receive $842.7 million in local sales tax allocations for the month of June, an 8.2 percent increase over the previous June.

rkelley@valleystar.com

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