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Sales Tax Revenues Show Big Texas Cities On Mend From Pandemic

Paris Hatters manager Alex Sledge rings up sales on a World War I era cash resgister at the history downtown business during the pandemic
Brian Kirkpatrick
Texas Public Radio
Paris Hatters manager Alex Sledge rings up sales at the historic downtown San Antonio business during the pandemic. The company is one of the city's oldest businesses to survive during the pandemic.

Year-to-date sales tax returns to Texas cities show San Antonio and Dallas barely edging out the state's other biggest cities when it comes to the economic recovery from the pandemic.

Texas Public Radio compared year-to-date sales tax returns to major cities through July of this year compared to those during the same period in 2020. Both are pandemic years, but spending and sales tax collections are improving across the state.

Each month the state comptroller collects city sales taxes from retailers and then returns to cities their share. The more consumers spend, the higher those returns, making them one indicator of how healthy a local economy may be.

The comptroller this month released its latest year-to-date sales tax returns for the first seven months of the year that show San Antonio and Dallas virtually tied when it comes to an increase in sales tax returns to the state's four largest cities during the comparison period. Both were up around 13.1%

Austin was up by 12.8% and Houston was up 9.8%

Outside of the state's four most populated cities, other top 20 Texas cities saw even bigger increases. Arlington jumped 28% and McAllen rose 22%

Midland was the only top 20 Texas city to see a decrease in sales tax returns so far this year compared to last, a drop of slightly more than 6%. The city was hit by a drop in oil prices during the pandemic.

Breaking down the collection totals to dollar amounts, year-to-date San Antonio, the state's second largest city, has received back from the state between January and July of this year a total of $270 million dollars in sales taxes.

Dallas, the third largest city in Texas, has received back $233 million and Houston, the state's largest city, has seen returned nearly $508 million.

Fourth most populated Austin has received back $177 million. Arlington, ranked sixth, has seen $88 million returned. Nineteenth-ranked Midland has received $49 million back.

To compare all top 20 Texas cities visit Top 20 Cities Sales and Use Tax Comparison Summary (texas.gov)