McALLEN – The City recorded its highest-ever local sales tax first quarter this year by collecting more than $17.5 million in retail taxes in January, February and March, according to the Texas Comptroller.
McAllen, the region’s largest city retail market by a commanding margin, is up 2.3 percent over the first quarter of last year, and it’s the largest year-over-year gain for the first quarter in three years. A general upturn in the economy, easing traffic at international crossings and more shopping options have all contributed to the increase, said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling.
“Over the last few years we have concentrated on making it easier for businesses to open and operate in McAllen with our new development center, streamlined processes and additional personnel dedicated to growing our retail sector,” said Darling. “This is big. This shows we are making progress and local and national retailers are picking McAllen. Shoppers are responding.”
The first quarter numbers from the Comptroller run two months behind and actually include the months of November, December and January. That shows that McAllen had its best November and December ever – the holiday shopping months. In fact, December’s $7.83 million sales tax collections was the best month in history.
The Texas state sales and use tax rate is 6.25%, but local taxing jurisdictions (cities, counties, special purpose districts, and transit authorities), including McAllen, also impose sales and use tax up to 2% for a total maximum combined rate of 8.25%. The next largest sales tax collections by a city in Hidalgo County was Edinburg at $5.12 million for 2015’s first quarter. In the RGV, Brownsville came in second to McAllen at $9.54 million.
https://mycpa.cpa.state.tx.us/allocation/AllocHistResults.jsp (type in city name in search box)
The vast majority of sales taxes collected in McAllen come from goods and restaurant sales. And with new restaurants and stores continuing to open in McAllen, leaders hope the city can continue the momentum moving forward. Stores and eateries like Forever 21, HomeGoods, Wallbangers, HEB, Starbucks, Koko’s, Walmart Neighborhood Market and many others have opened their doors recently in McAllen. Famous brands like Chipotle, Zoe’s Kitchen, Corner Bakery and Nothing Bundt Cakes are also on the way.
Coinciding with McAllen’s record retail reach are some of the lowest unemployment rates in years and the highest collections of mixed beverage sales taxes in at least five years.
“We are being very proactive with our efforts to enhance McAllen’s retail environment,” said McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez. “We are identifying properties, retailers and developers and moving forward strategically. There is more to come.”