MCALLEN, RGV – Taxable retail sales were up seven percent in the Rio Grande Valley over the past year, says the executive director of Rio South Texas Economic Council.

Based on statistics provide by the Texas Comptroller’s Office, Matt Ruszczak crunches the numbers to see how well the region is doing compared to the other parts of Texas. He says the Valley did very well, as compared to Texas as a whole.

“Texas was up 4.71 percent. Nice strong growth,” Ruszczak said. “But the Valley’s growth was seven percent, year over year. Not only is that significantly stronger than that of the state as a whole, and a really good growth rate, in and of itself, it is also the second year in a row that we are in that seven percent range.”

Looking at the numbers county by county, Ruszczak reports that between Nov. 1, 2018 and October 31, 2019, Cameron County’s taxable retail sales were up 4.15 percent. Willacy County’s taxable retail sales were up 2.28 percent. Hidalgo County’s taxable retail sales were up 8.39 percent. And Starr County’s taxable retail sales were up 8.07 percent.

Of the 44 taxing communities in the Valley, 42 were up year over year. “That is a great statistic,” Ruszczak said. The two communities to show a dip in sales tax revenues were Progreso Lakes, down 2.4 percent, and Raymondville, down 2.09 percent.

Looking at other areas along the Texas-Mexico border, Webb County’s taxable retail sales were up 4.98 percent, Maverick County’s taxable retail sales were up 4.61 percent, Val Verde County’s taxable retail sales were up 12 percent, and El Paso County’s taxable retail sales were up 6.41 percent.

“We had a great year. In terms of dollars, we (the Rio Grande Valley) are the No. 1 market for growth on the Texas-Mexico border,” Ruszczak said.

Combining the four counties that make up the Valley, there were approximately $13.4 billion in taxable retail sales. “That is a huge number, showing we are a real economic powerhouse,” Ruszczak said.

Year over year, the Valley had $874.9 million in additional taxable retail sales. “Almost a billion dollars. That is huge number of fresh wealth coming into the community,” Ruszczak said.

In an interview with the Rio Grande Guardian, Ruszczak provided a list of the ten largest markets in the Valley when measured by taxable retail sales.

McAllen was No. 1 with close to $3.5 billion, or 25.9 percent of all taxable retail sales in the Valley. Brownsville was second with a little over $2 billion, or 15.8 percent of all taxable retail sales, Harlingen was third, with $1.3 billion, or 9.56 percent of the market. Edinburg was fourth, with close to $1.3 billion, or 9.55 percent of the market. Pharr was fifth with just over a billion dollars, or 7.87 percent.

The above podcast provides a lot more analysis of the taxable retail sales for the Rio Grande Valley for the year between Nov. 1, 2018, and Oct. 31, 2019.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story and podcast shows La Plaza Mall in McAllen. (Photo credit: Simon Properties)