MISSION, Texas – When the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service meets up with Matt Ruszczak to discuss the latest sales tax revenue numbers, we joke that his report sounds like a broken record.

That’s because, these days, the numbers are always going up. Rarely does Ruszczak have anything bad to report. 

That is true for the October 2022 report. The Rio Grande Valley is doing really well, says the vice president of economic development for CoStep.

“There was nothing really groundbreaking to report. This year has been very steady, positive and steady. We saw, obviously, a very short negative impact in 2020 and a rapid recovery. We had a very, very strong 2021,” Ruszczak reported.

Ruszczak gets his sales tax revenue numbers for all the cities in the Rio Grande Valley from the Texas Comptroller’s Office. He then compares them with the same month last year.

“All in all, as we look back on the three-year timeframe, these (numbers) are positive and I think if we drive around our communities and we engage with our our community, we see very positive growth. We see new investment. I think we are seeing the Valley as a whole once again emerging out of a crisis situation stronger than it entered it.”

In this respect, the coronavirus pandemic is no different than the financial crisis of 2008-09, Ruszczak argued.

“We saw that clearly in the financial crisis in 2008-2009. And we’re seeing a repeat of that now with the pandemic. And when you when you look at it historically, after the financial crisis, the region experienced tremendous growth. And so I’m crossing toes and fingers that we’ll see that the movie repeat. That we’ll see, once again, a tremendous growth as we completely, hopefully soon emerge out of the pandemic.”

Ruszczak pointed out that economic development is not just about retail. “There’s obviously manufacturing and trade and transportation, logistics and all these things. And all those factors look good as well. And so I think there are exciting times ahead.”

Ruszczak added: “There are very few things on the horizon that tell me that things are going to turn negative anytime in the near future, knock on wood.  And I think we can, once again, look back from 2022 to 2019… and can, as a region, be very proud of how we’ve managed through this pandemic. And I think we can look forward to some some strong prosperity in the years to come.”

Here is the interview:


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