Cities post strong sales tax numbers for January

HARLINGEN — Harlingen continued its relentlessly strong retail sales showing with the announcement its state sales tax allocation for January was 11.46 percent above the previous year.

The city was joined by very strong showings among municipalities across the Rio Grande Valley, led by South Padre Island’s monthly increase of 17.28 percent over the previous January and McAllen’s best sales tax allocation showing in nearly two years at plus 7.88 percent for the month.

Other Cameron County cities posting sales tax allocation percentage increases were San Benito, up 10.19 percent, Los Fresnos, up 7.35 percent, Brownsville at 5.23 percent, La Feria at 3.94 percent and Port Isabel at 2.06 percent.

Among the county’s major municipalities, only Rio Hondo showed a decline over the previous January, coming in at minus 4.96 percent.

The monthly sales tax allocations from the state Office of the Comptroller are based on sales made in January by businesses that report tax monthly. They are viewed by many as a barometer of the health of a city or town’s retail sector.

In Willacy County, Raymondville was up 9.04 percent while Lyford was down 1.85 percent.

In Hidalgo County, the numbers were some of the best across-the-board figures in two years with Mercedes reversing a long trend with a 10 percent increase over the past January, Edinburg up 9.29 percent, Pharr up 8.12 percent and Weslaco up 7.87 percent.

McAllen’s strong tax showing for January follows a slight gain of 1.28 percent in the December number. For the year, McAllen is up 4.08 percent.

Harlingen continues to set the pace in Cameron County with an extraordinary string of positive sales tax allocation numbers. For the year, the city is up 8.76 percent.

Brownsville and Los Fresnos, too, are trending strong for the year, up 5.45 percent and 7.09 percent, respectively.

Statewide, the Texas economy is showing continued signs of overcoming a swoon linked to low oil prices, with sales tax allocations for the January reporting period up 8.03 percent over the same month last year.