MCALLEN, Texas – The Texas Comptroller’s end of year report on taxable sales showed the Rio Grande Valley outperforming the average for the state of Texas as a whole.

Sales tax revenues for the Valley as a whole were up 19.64 percent for the period Nov. 2020 to Oct. 2021, as compared to Nov. 2019 to Oct. 2020. Comparing the same time periods, the state of Texas as a whole was up 14.64 percent. 

“Once again, this year, we outperformed the state by a solid margin of almost five percent,” said Matt Ruszczak, vice president for economic development at the Council for South Texas Economic Progress (COSTEP).

Ruszczak looks closely at the Comptroller’s sales tax revenue reports each month and provides an in-depth analysis for the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service and NewsTalk 710 KURV

He said sales tax revenues were up 20.3 percent in Hidalgo County over this 12-month period. The percentage growth in Cameron County over the same period was 19.33 percent. For Starr County it was 7.97 percent and for Willacy County it was 9.19 percent.

“For any year these are stellar numbers,” Ruszczak noted. 

All 44 communities in the Valley saw their sales tax revenues go up during the Nov. 2020-Oct. 2021 period, as compared to Nov. 2019 to Oct. 2020. Forty-two of the 44 saw growth above five percent, and 18 out of 44 saw sales tax revenues grow by over 20 percent. 

“We had a good 2020 overall, despite all the challenges (of the coronavirus pandemic). We had a very good second half of the year in 2020, to help over come some of the challenges from the early part of the year,” Ruszczak said. “And in 2021 we just took off. We just had a really, really stellar performance.”

And the figures were all the more remarkable, Ruszczak said, because land ports of entry were closed to shoppers the entire time. 

Here are the numbers for the larger cities in Hidalgo County:

McAllen up 21.08 percent

Mercedes up 22.86 percent

Mission up 24.65 percent

Edinburg up 16.6 percent

San Jun up 15.59 percent

Pharr up 21.19 percent

Weslaco up 18.78 percent

Here are the numbers for the larger cities in Cameron County:

Harlingen up 14.97 percent

San Benito up 16.05 percent

Port Isabel up 19.36 percent

Brownsville up 20.32 percent

South Padre Island up 45.46 percent.

“That is a huge, huge performance. A very strong rebound,” said Ruszczak, referring to the percentage increase for South Padre Island.

Raymondville saw a growth in sales tax revenues of 10.25 percent over the 12-month period, while Rio Grande City saw a growth of 8.78 percent.

By way of comparison, Ruszczak looked at the same 12-month period in other border and South Texas communities. Webb County recorded a 17.09 percent increase. Nueces County was up 8.12 percent. Maverick County was up 11.2 percent, Val Verde County was up 9.4 percent, and El Paso County was up 16.46 percent.

Market Share


Ruszczak also took a look at the market share of taxable sales in the Valley. The top ten cities with their percentages are as follows:

McAllen: 24.95 percent

Brownsville: 15.2 percent

Edinburg: 9.5 percent

Harlingen: 9.19 percent

Pharr: 8.1 percent

Mission: 6.53 percent

Weslaco: 5.18 percent

San Benito: 2.02 percent

Mercedes: 2.0 percent

San Juan: 1.64 percent

“Almost one quarter of all taxable sales that happened in the Rio Grande Valley, happened in McAllen,” Ruszczak said. 

If one looks at the market share over the years, the larger cities are holding steady or sightly declining, while mid size communities, as they pull in big box stores, are going slightly up, Ruszczak explained.

October 2021 figures


In his interview with the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service, Ruszczak also looked at the sales tax revenue figures for October 2021, comparing the numbers with those of October 2020.

“Overall, the Valley was up 13.24 percent,” Ruszczak said. “That is kind of a story that has been playing out for the whole year really, maybe even a little bit longer than a year, of double digit growth.”

The two largest counties in the Valley were driving the growth. Hidalgo County saw a percentage increase of 13.24 and Cameron County a percentage increase of 14.04.

“We once again had a very strong sales month across the entire region,” Ruszczak said.

Here is the interview on Zoom:

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