The city of Jonesboro continues to rack up record-setting month after record-setting month in terms of sales and use tax collections, but the torrid growth has slowed. The city collected $1.566 million in sales and use taxes for the month of July, a 1.62% ($24,928) uptick from July 2018, according to figures released by the city.
The monthly collection figure is slightly down from the predicted budget number. Civic leaders had budgeted $1.583 million, a decrease of 1.07% ($16,909) from what had been projected.
For the year, Jonesboro has collected $11.105 million, a 5.47% ($575,508) increase when compared to the first seven months of 2018. The amount is a 4.78% ($506,673) increase from the projected budgeted amount for the period.
Sales and use tax collections have a 60-day lag time, meaning the numbers in July represent taxes collected on sales in May, which is typically the highest collection month of the year for the city. Jonesboro serves as a recreational, retail, and healthcare hub in NEA drawing consumers from many outlying counties.
Craighead County kept pace with its seat, but its collections slightly lagged when compared to the previous year. The county tallied $1.728 million in county sales and use taxes, about $1,300 less than when compared to July 2018. For the year, the county is up about 7% as compared to the first seven months of last year, according to the Craighead County Treasurer’s Office.
Civic leaders, economists, and others have competing theories as to why Northeast Arkansas has experienced consistent economic growth during the last four decades. The region’s diverse jobs base – agriculture, food processing, health and medical, Arkansas State University, and professional services – have had an insulating effect, but economic gains are also tied to population growth.
Since the early 1970s, Jonesboro has grown by about 3% each year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As of 2016, the city had about 76,000 residents. Jonesboro was the fifth largest city in Arkansas based on population in the 2010 census. The city is the second largest in terms of geographic size, trailing only Little Rock.