Harlingen retail sales still strong: Most county cities show tax gains

HARLINGEN — Cameron County cities enjoyed robust retail sales growth in August, with almost all showing increased sales tax allocations for the month, the Texas Comptroller’s Office reported yesterday.

Harlingen continued its pattern of solid retail growth, with the state remitting $2.91 million to the city, a 2.43 percent increase over the same month last year.

The following cities all had gains in the year-over-year sales tax allocation:

San Benito — 5.5 percent.

La Feria — 7.13 percent.

Los Indios — 10.78 percent.

Primera — 19.85 percent.

Santa Rosa — 120.46 percent.

Rio Hondo — 19.85 percent.

Laguna Vista — 3.12 percent

Brownsville — 1.48 percent.

Combes — 48.30 percent.

Raymondville, still feeling the impact of the closure of its Wal-Mart, saw its August sales tax allocation drop 1.35 percent.

Sales tax allocations returned to communities are a gauge of the retail health of local economies. Overall, tax allocations to cities in Texas totaled $769.3 million for August of this year, a 1.2 percent gain year-over-year.

There were three cities in the county which had lower sales tax allocations this August compared to last.

South Padre Island was down 1.99 percent, Port Isabel dropped 0.37 percent and Palm Valley saw a small decline of 0.4 percent.

Elsewhere, retail sectors in McAllen and Mercedes continued to be hurt by the peso-dollar exchange rate, with the cities down 4.07 percent and 4.06 percent in tax allocations this August compared to last.

Donna showed an increase in sales tax remittances of 23.89 percent, and Edinburg saw an increase of 5.12 percent.

The positive sales tax allocation statewide indicates the economies of energy-sector dependent cities, while still showing weak retail sales, may at last be leveling out.

“The cities of San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano and Irving saw noticeable increases in sales tax allocations,” Comptroller Glenn Hegar said. “Energy-centric cities such as Houston and Midland continue to see decreases in sales tax allocations.”