MCALLEN, RGV – Sales tax revenue collections across the Rio Grande Valley dipped in the most recent reporting period.

However, Matt Ruszczak, who analyzes the figures, says there is no cause for alarm when looking at the September 2019.

The Rio South Texas Economic Council executive director said that when comparisons between the numbers for September 2019 and the numbers for September 2018 are looked at, a caveat should be introduced: September of 2018 was a stellar month that was always going to be hard to replicate.

In the above podcast, Ruszczak also points out that there was one less Saturday in September 2019, as compared to September 2018.

“I would not call it a screeching halt. When we look at the report from September of last year, it was so stellar, stunningly stellar; double-digit growth across most of the communities. And last August was nothing to sneeze at either. It was also a good report,” Ruszczak told the Rio Grande Guardian.

“Things have not necessarily slowed down. Things have stabilized. If you have stellar performing months, month after month after month, at some point the math will catch up with you because you are always comparing with the prior year.”

The sales tax revenues are collated each month by the Texas Comptroller’s Office. The most recent report looked at the figures for September 2019. Ruszczak analyzes the figures by comparing the percentage increases or decreases with the same month a year ago.

The numbers

Sales tax revenues were up 2.74 percent in Texas as a whole in September 2019, as compared to the same month last year.

Comparing the same months, Webb County was up 4.42 percent, while Nueces County was down 5.7 percent.

Sales tax revenues were up 1.42 percent for Cameron County in September 2019, as compared to the same month last year.

Sales tax revenues were down 1.01 percent for Hidalgo County in September 2019, as compared to the same month last year.

Comparing the same months, Starr County was up 0.83 percent and Willacy County was down 21.91 percent.

And so, for the Rio Grande Valley as a whole, sales tax revenues were down 0.43 percent in September 2019, as compared to the same month last year.

Looking at the individual communities in Cameron County, Brownsville was down 1.33 percent, Harlingen up 0.68 percent, Port Isabel up 8.85 percent, South Padre Island up 7.79 percent, and San Benito up 11.52 percent.

Looking at the individual communities in Hidalgo County, Edinburg was up 2.77, McAllen was down 1.03 percent, Mercedes was down 0.41 percent, Mission was down 2.08 percent, Pharr was down 6.26 percent, and Weslaco was down 4.94 percent.

Ruszczak noted, however, that many Valley communities had “stellar” sales tax revenue figures in September 2018. “Hidalgo County was up 15.23 percent in September 2018. Last year was absolutely steel for Hidalgo County. This year it is more of an evening out than an actual dip.”

Ruszczak added: “I do not want anybody to walk away from this report thinking, Oh my God, the sky is falling. Or that the economy has in any form our fashion stopped growing. I think this is much more of a numbers game.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows Matt Ruszczak, executive director of Rio South Texas Economic Council.