Sales tax growth continues in Jonesboro and Craighead County

by George Jared (gjared@talkbusiness.net) 167 views 

The hits keep coming.

Years of sales tax receipt growth in Craighead County and its seat, Jonesboro, continue through the month of August. Jonesboro collected $1.58 million in sales and use tax during the previous month, according to numbers released by the city. It represents about a 1% increase from the same month in 2018.

For the year, the city has collected $12.685 million in sales and use tax, a 4.85% ($587,326) increase from 2018, the all-time record setting year for the region’s hub city. The only negative metric was a comparison to the budget. Collections were down $12,578 when compared to what the city budgeted for the month. To date, the city is still 4% ahead of its budget projections.

After a slightly down July, Craighead County finished August with $1.772 million in sales and use tax collections, a 1% increase from the same month in August 2018.

For the year, the county is up about 7% as compared to the first eight months of last year, according to the Craighead County Treasurer’s Office.

Sales and use tax collections have a 60-day lag time, meaning the numbers in July represent taxes collected on sales in June. Jonesboro serves as a recreational, retail, and healthcare hub in NEA drawing consumers from many outlying counties.

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.

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