Cameron and Hidalgo counties’ biggest cities showed strong gains in state sales tax reimbursements for August, the Texas Office of the Comptroller reports.
Brownsville posted a 10.66 percent gain, among the biggest in the county. Harlingen posted its second positive month in a row after a string of negative sales tax numbers earlier in the year, and was up 3.85 percent for the month. For the year, the city is 1.71 percent above last year.
Elsewhere in Cameron, the included gainers were Rio Hondo (34.48 percent), San Benito (15.14 percent), South Padre Island (9.89 percent), Port Isabel (6.88 percent) and La Feria (4.50 percent).
The only city in Cameron County which posted negative numbers was Los Fresnos, down 3.77 percent, but still up 12.91 percent for the year.
The monthly state sales tax reimbursements are a rough indicator of the health of a city’s retail sector. Economic development experts consider a 2 percent increase the point of a positive result for a city over the course of a year.
In Willacy County, both Raymondville (down 29.13 percent) and Lyford (down 8.40 percent) posted negative numbers for August, but both remain in the plus column for the year. Raymondville is up 4.12 percent and Lyford up 47.62 percent.
In Hidalgo County, Edinburg led the way in August, up 13.73 percent over the same month a year ago.
Mission was up 8.75 percent, McAllen was up 3.30 percent, Weslaco improved by 3.17 percent and Pharr was up 3.04 percent. Mercedes was static at 0.0 percent.
Annual gains in Hidalgo County are even more impressive. Pharr is up 13.92 percent over last year, Edinburg is up 13.78 percent, McAllen has shown a gain of 9.72 percent, Mission is up 8.84 percent and Weslaco is up 5.84 percent.
Mercedes, heavily dependent on its outlet mall and the dollar-peso exchange rate, has been reversing its trend over the past two to three years and is up 2.31 percent for 2019.
Statewide, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced $773.1 million in sales tax allocations to cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts would be distributed for the month of August.
That is a 5.1 percent increase from a year ago.
Monthly percent Annual percent
HARLINGEN Up 3.85 Up 1.71
SAN BENITO Up 15.14 Up 8.47
RIO HONDO Up 34.48 Up 28.79
LA FERIA Up 4.50 Up 5.44
S. PADRE ISL Up 9.89 Up 7.28
PORT ISABEL Up 6.88 Up 6.52
LOS FRESNOS Down 3.77 Up 12.91
BROWNSVILLE Up 10.66 Up 4.33
RAYMONDVILLE Down 29.13 Up 4.12
LYFORD Down 8.40 Up 47.62
MCALLEN Up 3.30 Up 9.72
MERCEDES Even 0.00 Up 2.31
EDINBURG Up 13.73 Up 13.78
PHARR Up 3.04 Up 13.92
MISSION Up 8.75 Up 8.84
WESLACO Up 3.17 Up 5.84
Source: Office of the Texas Comptroller. Allocations are based on sales made in August by businesses that report tax monthly.
By RICK KELLEY Staff Writer