Many Valley cities show sharp drop in sales tax numbers

HARLINGEN — Some of the Valley’s biggest cities showed the first effects of COVID-19 depressing spending habits, with sharp downturns in monthly sales tax numbers for March.

South Padre Island was down 31.33 percent for March compared to last year, Brownsville was down 8.61 percent, McAllen was off 7.96 percent and Harlingen was down 5.41 percent.

Mercedes, heavily dependent on sales at its outlet mall, was down 29.20 percent for the month.

March is one of the four months of the year when sales tax numbers also include quarterly filers as well as monthly, which perhaps masks the real falloff.

That will be seen more prominently, Comptroller Glenn Hegar warned Wednesday, in April numbers which will be available a month from now.

Statewide, $824.1 million was allocated to cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts, a decline of 5 percent over March 2019.

Elsewhere in Cameron County, some cities posted strong gains for March, perhaps the result of the addition of quarterly filers.

San Benito was up 15.59 percent, Los Fresnos was up 11.23 percent and Port Isabel was up 4.84 percent.

La Feria (down 6.73 percent) and Rio Hondo (down 0.43 percent) were the other larger cities to post negative numbers for March.

In Willacy County, both Raymondville and Lyford posted strong March sales tax numbers, up 14.82 percent and 32.84 percent respectively.

Elsewhere in Hidalgo County, Edinburg was down 2.65 percent for March, Pharr was down 0.85 percent, Weslaco posted a negative 0.66 percent and Mission was up 1.30 percent.

rkelley@valleystar.com