Harlingen, Tex., sees sales tax dollars increase nearly 20 percent

The city of Harlingen will receive a substantial increase in sales tax dollars from what it made this time last year.

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts says the city will receive $1,696,146, up 19.47 percent from this time last year. The numbers, reported this month, are based on revenues collected in October.

Harlingen officials were delighted to learn how much money the city will get.

"That shows a stronger economy than what a lot of people had projected," said Raudel Garza, chief executive officer of the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation.

"It shows the people are spending more money and are a little more confident in what the future is going to be like. I know our projections are always conservative when we're building our budget. This is making all our city finance departments happy."

Garza said that although the city is receiving more money, it will stick to its budget.

"If there's any funds that are above or beyond our budget then they go back into our cash reserves for the rainy day," Garza said.

Garza said other cities in the Rio Grande Valley are also doing well.

"We're excited ... I've looked at a few other cities across the Valley (which) are all experiencing some pretty good growth this year," Garza said.

San Benito is seeing an increase of 6.8 percent; Brownsville is receiving 12.86 percent more than it received last year; and McAllen is getting 19.62 percent more money than last year.

The Comptroller's office said $2.34 billion in sales tax revenue was collected in October, up 13.1 percent from this time last year.

"Gains across major sectors boosted state sales tax revenue," Comptroller Susan Combs said. "Collections were strong in sectors such as retail trade, manufacturing, oil and natural gas, construction and telecommunications."

As a result of these gains, the office will distribute $552 million in revenue to cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts.

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Copyright 2012 - Valley Morning Star, Harlingen, Texas

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