Harlingen’s sales taxes are up: Brownsville, McAllen retail lags

HARLINGEN — It’s been a consistent story. There was no change again this month.

Harlingen continued its string of positive results in state sales tax reimbursements this month, posting a 4.10 percent increase over the same month last year.

Harlingen is up 4.22 percent for the year in sales tax reimbursement payments.

San Benito’s sales tax reimbursement for the month was up 2.31 percent, La Feria was up 1.74 percent, Rio Hondo was up 4.12 percent, and South Padre Island posted a strong 9.13 percent increase over last year.

Elsewhere, Brownsville’s sales tax reimbursements continued to lag, down 2.82 percent for the month and down 4.91 percent for the year.

March was a strong month for cities across the state, with $619.7 million returned to cities in sales tax reimbursements, an increase of 5.80 percent over last March.

Weak oil prices have depressed retail sales in cities like Midland and Houston for months, but this month they were up 7.90 percent and 6.53 percent, respectively.

State sales tax reimbursements are regarded as indicators of a community’s retail health. The reimbursements to cities for March are based on retail sales which occurred in January.

In Willacy County, Raymondville’s retail numbers showed a major drop of 40.40 percent for the month and 30.11 percent for the year as the closing of the city’s Wal-Mart continues to drag retail sales numbers down.

Like Brownsville, McAllen also seems to be feeling the effect of a weak peso versus the dollar. Once again the sales tax reimbursement for the month was in the negative, down 1.80 percent. For the year, McAllen is down 6.01 percent.

“The cities of Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth and Austin saw noticeable increases in sales tax allocations,” Comptroller Glenn Hegar said in a news release. “The cities of McAllen and Sugar Land saw noticeable decreases.”