Harlingen posts strong gain in sales tax numbers, again

HARLINGEN — Sales tax allocations for Harlingen continued to reflect the city’s robust retail sector, with returns for the month of June up 4.78 over the previous year.

For the year, the city is up 3.94 percent in sales tax allocations.

Elsewhere in Cameron County, South Padre Island and Brownsville showed modest gains for the month, while other cities showed declines.

In Hidalgo County, each of the major cities showed a decline in sales tax allocations from the past June.

Sales tax allocations reflect a rough estimate of the retail health of a city.

Overall for Texas, Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced $779.2 million in local sales tax allocations for August, 1.3 percent higher than August 2016. These 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.

In Willacy County, Raymondville posted a very strong 27.72 percent gain over the past June numbers, although the city remains down 6.55 percent for the year. Lyford was down 10.91 percent for the month, but remains up 0.12 percent for the year.

In Hidalgo County, the numbers were almost uniformly disappointing.

McAllen, after posting a positive number for the first time in months for sales taxes collected in May, was down again at 3.57 percent for June, and remains down 3.99 percent for the year.

Mercedes was down 11.74 percent for the month (down 12.21 percent for the year), Edinburg was down 3.45 percent (down 1.36 percent for the year), Pharr was down 4.40 percent (up 0.46 percent for the year) and Weslaco was down 1.05 percent (up 2.32 percent for the year).

Elsewhere in Cameron County, South Padre Island was up 1.74 percent for the month (up 8.69 percent for the year), Brownsville was up 1.82 percent (down 2.12 percent for the year), San Benito was down 4.33 percent (up 3.27 percent for the year), Rio Hondo was down 9.07 percent (down 6.68 percent for the year) and La Feria was down 12.62 percent (down 5.32 percent for the year).

For May, Harlingen posted a 7.45 percent increase in sales tax allocations so June was a bit lower but still strong at 4.78 percent.

From the numbers posted over the past 18 months, Harlingen’s retail sector seems to be more resilient than other cities in the Valley. Each month, with just one or two exceptions, the city has put up positive numbers over the previous year.

Other Valley cities such as McAllen and Mercedes, perhaps more dependent on cross-border shopping by Mexican nationals, have seen consistent declines in monthly sales tax allocations which analysts attribute to the weak peso versus the dollar.

The exchange rate yesterday was 17.92 pesos to the dollar.

Cameron County

HARLINGEN — Up 4.78 percent

SAN BENITO — Down 4.33 percent

RIO HONDO — Down 9.07 percent

LA FERIA — Down 12.61 percent

S. PADRE ISL — Up 1.74 percent

LOS FRESNOS — Down 8.94 percent

BROWNSVILLE — Up 1.82 percent

Willacy County

RAYMONDVILLE — Up 27.72 percent

LYFORD — Down 10.91 percent

Hidalgo County

MCALLEN — Down 3.57 percent

MERCEDES — Down 11.74 percent

EDINBURG — Down 3.45 percent

PHARR — Down 4.40 percent

WESLACO — Down 1.05 percent

Source: Texas Comptroller’s Office; sales are from June