WESLACO, Texas – Every month, Matt Ruszczak joins The Rio Grande Guardian for a discussion on the latest sales tax revenue figures fro the Rio Grande Valley.
Ruszczak is executive director of Rio South Texas Economic Council.
This month, Ruszczak looked at the figures for April, 2020, a month like no other. April was the month most people were in lockdown. Unless they worked in an essential service, Valley residents, like those around the country, were mandated to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19.
As a result, economic activity was down, alarmingly for some Valley communities. South Padre Island saw a drop of 58.4 percent in sales tax revenues, as compared to April, 2019. Mercedes’ saw a drop of 55.6 percent, as compared to a year ago. McAllen saw a drop of 30.2 percent. All three communities depend on Mexican shoppers and the international bridges were closed to non-essential travel during April.
Some cities did not do as badly. Pharr’s sales tax revenues were only down 4.78 percent. Weslaco’s were only down 9.02 percent.
As for the counties, Cameron County’s drop in sales tax revenues was 17.06 percent. Hidalgo County’s were down 16.59 percent. Starr County’s were down 8.69 percent. And Willacy County’s sales tax revenue figures were, remarkably, up – by 6.4 percent, as compared to a year ago.
In the attached Zoom interview, Ruszczak discusses all the local numbers. He said the numbers were not as bad as he expected. And he looked forward to what the coming months might look like.
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