HARLINGEN — Many of the Valley’s big retail cities were sharply down in sales tax revenues released yesterday for the month of March.
In Cameron County, Harlingen was down 7.75 percent over the past March, San Benito was down 12.77 percent, South Padre Island was down 9.78 percent, Port Isabel was down 9.67 percent, La Feria was off 5.45 percent, Los Fresnos was down 1.08 percent and Brownsville’s numbers were down 5.04 percent.
Only Rio Hondo posted a gain for the month, up 46.92 percent.
Sales tax reimbursements from the Office of the Texas Comptroller are seen as rough gauges of the health of a city’s retail sector. This month’s numbers are based both on businesses filing monthly as well as those which file quarterly.
The sharp declines for the month of March this year may be at least partly due to the fact Easter fell on April 4 in 2018 and Semana Santa, Holy Week, was the last week in March. This year the major shopping week fellcompletely within the month of April and should show up in next month’s numbers.
In Willacy County, Raymondville was down 7.87 percent for the month and Lyford was up 13.28 percent.
In Hidalgo County, McAllen’s strong monthto- month showing over the past year slowed, with sales tax reimbursements to the city up just 1.26 percent for March. The city still maintained an 8.8 percent increase for the year compared to last year.
Also down for the month were Mercedes (off 15.10 percent), Mission(down 3.49 percent) and Weslaco (down 2.94 percent).
Pharr was up 7.56 percent for the month and Edinburg was up 7.07 percent.
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced last week he will send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts $867.7 million in local sales tax allocations this month, which is 0.7 percent more than a year ago, but well below the strong numbers the state has been putting up over the past two years.