WESLACO, Texas – The sales tax revenue figures for November 2020 show the Rio Grande Valley doing better than the state of Texas as a whole and smaller Valley cities doing better than bigger ones.

The data is collated by the Texas Comptroller’s Office and analyzed for the Rio Grande Guardian by Matt Ruszczak, executive director of Rio South Texas Economic Council.

The November 2020 revenues shows the state of Texas up 3.44 percent compared to the same month in 2019. “A decent performance, all things considered,” Ruszczak said. Comparing the same months, the Valley’s revenues were up 8.55 percent. “A fantastic achievement,” Ruszczak said.

The breakdown for the Valley’s four counties showed Hidalgo up 5.8 percent, Cameron up 14.07 percent, Willacy up 16.37 percent, and Starr up 18.20 percent.

Of the 44 cities in the Valley, all but two showed sales tax revenue collections up in November 2020, as compared to November 2019. The two to suffer dips were Mercedes, with a drop of 23.89 percent and Sullivan City with a drop of 9.02 percent. Of the 42 cities doing better in 2020 than 2019, 17 recorded an increase in revenue of over 20 percent. “The local consumer continues to amaze me,” Ruszczak said.

Looking at the numbers in Cameron County, Brownsville saw an increase of 15.68 percent, Harlingen 7.73 percent, Port Isabel 14.21 percent, San Benito 10.58 percent, and South Padre Island 32.53 percent.

In Willacy County, Raymondville’s sales tax revenues were up 17.91 percent in November 2020, as compared to the same month in 2019.

In Hidalgo County, Edinburg saw an increase of 9.3 percent on its sales tax revenues in November 2020, as compared to November 2019. Pharr saw an increase of 10.16 percent, Mission 12.61 percent, San Juan 18.79 percent, Weslaco 12.98 percent, and McAllen 0.04 percent. 

In Starr County, Rio Grande City’s sales tax revenues went up 19.14 percent in November 2020, as compared to the same month in 2019.

For months, Ruszczak has been talking about the “COVID shift.” By this he means a change in shopping habits caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Looking at the numbers Ruszczak has noticed that shoppers are buying locally, rather than traveling to bigger cities. 

The sales tax revenue figures in Hidalgo County for November 2020 prove this out. Alton’s percentage increase is 39.32 percent. Donna’s went up 24.39 percent. Edcouch saw an increase of 28.67 percent. And Palmhurst’s was up 17.5 percent. These percentages are higher than the bigger cities in the county.

Here is a video interview with Ruszczak:

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story and Zoom shows The Shops at 493 in Donna, Texas. 

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