Edinburg’s retail economy during July 2009, as measured by the amount of local and state sales taxes generated by a wide range of local businesses, was down almost 5.4 percent over the same month in 2008, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

The latest figure represents the third consecutive decrease when comparing monthly figures between this year and during 2008.

For the month of July 2009, Edinburg generated $1,088,701.20 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,150,770.26 in July 2008 — a decrease of 5.39 percent.

In June 2009, the monthly sales tax figure was 2.46 percent lower than the same month the previous year.

In May 2009, the monthly sales tax figure was almost five percent lower than the same month the previous year.

However, year-to-date — from January 2009 through July 2009 — Edinburg was holding on to a positive showing, with the local retail economy during the first seven months of 2009 up 7.15 percent over the same period last year.

During the first seven months of 2009, Edinburg’s retail economy generated $11,160,679.81 in local sales taxes, compared with $10,415,898.74 during the same period in 2008.

The report represents the latest figures compiled by state, and announced on Friday, September 11.

The state and local sales tax figures represent sales that occurred in July, were collected by the state in August, and distributed back in September to local governments by the comptroller’s office in the form of rebates.

Retail businesses are required to collect both the local and state sales taxes and send them to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. The state government then sends the local share of the sales taxes to the communities in which they originated.

The local sales tax is used to help pay for dozens of major city services, ranging from new streets to city personnel.

Local sales taxes in Edinburg are generated by the city’s 1 1/2 cent local sales tax, and the 1/2 cent economic development sales tax that is administered by the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

The EEDC, which is a city government entity, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It sits on a public treasury of millions of dollars.

McAllen — the largest economic engine in South Texas — showed an even more dramatic monthly drop in July 2009 compared with July 2008.

For July 2009, McAllen generated more than $4 million in local sales taxes, compared with more than $4.7 million in July 2008 — a drop of almost 15.5 percent.

In June 2009, McAllen generated more than $4.9 million in local sales taxes, compared with more than $5.5 million in June 2008, a drop of more than 11 percent.

Year-to-date, McAllen’s retail economy remains sluggish. From January through July 2009, McAllen generated more than $41.3 million in local sales taxes, compared with more than $45.1 million during the same period in 2008 — a decrease of almost almost 8.4 percent.

For the month of July 2009, all cities in Hidalgo County generated almost $9.2 million in local sales taxes, compared with $10.1 million in July 2008, a drop of more than nine percent.

The county itself does not collect a local sales tax.

Comparable cities in Hidalgo County also posted negative numbers for July 2009.

• Pharr’s latest monthly retail sales activities dropped more than 10 percent, generating more than $817,000 in July 2009 compared with almost $818,000 in July 2008;

• Mission also showed a drop, although much smaller than Pharr. In July 2009, Mission generated $1,049,865, compared with $817,638.40, a decrease of more than 2.8 percent; and

• Weslaco fared slightly better than Mission, generating more than $681,000 in local sales tax activities in July 2009, compared with more than $692,000 in July 2008, a drop of 1.62 percent.

Also posting decreases were the two key communities in Cameron County.

Brownsville, the Valley’s most populated city, saw its retail economy in July 2009 generate less local sales tax revenue from the same month in 2008. In July 2009, Brownsville generated more than $2.4 million in local sales taxes, compared with more than $2.6 million in July 2008 — a drop of nine percent.

Harlingen did not do much better than Brownsville in July 2009.

In July 2009, Harlingen reported more than $1.4 million in local sales taxes, compared with almost $1.6 million in July 2008, a decrease of more than eight percent.

All cities in Cameron County generated a total of almost $4.9 million in local sales taxes in July 2009, compared with almost $5.2 million in July 2008, a drop of 5.3 percent.

At a statewide level, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Susan Combs offered the assessments, including noting that the state in July 2009 generated $1.75 billion in sales tax, down 12.5 percent compared to a year ago.

Monthly sales tax collections continue to decline as most major sectors of the economy, including oil and gas, construction and retail trade, continue to struggle,” Combs said. “For fiscal 2009, which began in September 2008, state sales tax collections totaled $20.9 billion. Collections grew through January 2009, but monthly declines since that time resulted in overall collections dropping by 2.7 percent for the state fiscal year.”

Local governments will receive $428.3 million in monthly sales tax allocations on Monday, a 12.9 percent decrease compared to a year ago. So far this calendar year, local sales tax allocations are down 3.3 percent compared to the same period in 2008.

Combs will send monthly sales tax allocations of $290.3 million to Texas cities, down 12.2 percent compared to last year. Texas counties will receive sales tax allocations of $25.8 million, down 16.5 percent compared to a year ago.

The 152 special purpose taxing districts around the state are getting $16.4 million in sales tax revenue, a decrease of 11.6 percent compared to a year ago. Ten Texas transit systems will get $95.8 million in sales tax, down 14.4 percent compared to a year ago.

For details of sales tax allocations to individual cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose districts, locate the Monthly Sales and Use Tax Allocation Comparison Summary Reports on the Comptroller’s Web site www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/allocsum/compsum.html.

The Comptroller’s next local sales tax allocation will be made on Friday, October 9.

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