MCALLEN, RGV – Cameron and Hidalgo counties experience a 3.07 percent increase in sales tax revenue for the first three-quarters of the 2017 Christmas season.

Matt Ruszczak, executive director of Rio South Texas Economic Council, analyzes the sales tax revenue reports distributed by the Texas Comptroller’s Office. Based on the findings, numbers went up for the RGV for the first three-quarters of the 2017 Christmas season, October, November and December. Ruszczak said Cameron county increased by 5.9 percent compared to the 2016 Christmas season and Hidalgo county increased by 1.72 percent.

Matt Ruszczak

According to Ruszczak, one of the factors impacting performance of the retail climate is the peso exchange rate. During the 2016 Christmas season, the peso lost significant value and hovered between 18.3 and 20.9. However, in 2017, the peso hovered between 18.5 and 19.9. Ruszczak said the exchange rate was 5 to ten percent stronger depending on the time frame and surely aided the sales.

One other factor impacting the Texas economy is the price of oil. During the 2016 Christmas season, Ruszczak said the price of oil per barrel with Texas Intermediate hovered between 43.3 and 54.1.

“The stronger the oil price the more oil work there is and the more money folks make and have to spend. That difference was even stronger than the peso exchange rate,” Ruszczak said. “For this Christmas season 2017 we were 49.3 to 60.4 so roughly 10 percent with some fluctuations–[this also] helps drives the sales.”

Despite the positive numbers, Ruszczak says he’s reserving judgment for the 2017 Christmas season until the January numbers roll in.

This Christmas season’s sales tax revenues are an improvement compared to last season. Ruszczak said they were concerned after looking at the numbers for the Christmas season in 2016.

“It’s nice to see that recovery continuing through the second half of 2017 and toward the ends of 2017,” Ruszczak said. “We’ll see how we started 2018 when the January numbers come out, but so far, so good. Those numbers look positive [and] it’s always nice to … see a positive trend and hopefully we’ll continue that way.”

Some of the sales tax revenue numbers for three-quarters of the 2017 Christmas season for some cities in Hidalgo county include:

McAllen — up 2.86 percent
Pharr — up 7.3 percent
Edinburg — down 0.01 percent
Mission — down 4.27 percent
Weslaco — up 0.72 percent
San Juan — down 1.46 percent
Alamo — up 0.52 percent
Donna — up 4.43 percent
Mercedes — down 8.96 percent

Some of the sales tax revenue numbers for three-quarters of the 2017 Christmas season for some cities in Cameron county include:

Brownsville — up 4.4 percent
Harlingen — up 9.62 percent
South Padre Island — up 0.75 percent
Port Isabel — up 1.23 percent
San Benito — up 0.75 percent

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above story shows the Armani Exchange store at La Plaza Mall in McAllen, Texas.