Jonesboro and Craighead County continue with sales tax growth even as pandemic unfolded

by George Jared ([email protected]) 464 views 

One of the leading indicators of a potential economic collapse is a drop in sales tax receipts at the city and county levels. For the time being, there hasn’t been a dramatic drop in collections in Jonesboro or Craighead County as a result of the pandemic.

The city raked in $1.582 million in sales and use tax revenue in May, a 2% ($31,567) uptick from the same month in 2019, according to the city. When compared to the budgeted total for the month, it was slightly down about 2.1%

For the year, the city has collected $8.267 million, a 3.9% rise from the same period in 2019. Collected totals this year are still 2% ahead of budgeted amounts. In fact, the only month this year that hasn’t outpaced the same month during the previous year is February, and the difference that month was only 0.3%.

Sales tax collection figures lag 60 days meaning the numbers released represent sales tax collections from March. Officials have repeatedly warned the numbers could dip significantly in the coming months as the full impact of the COVID-19 shutdown is reflected in the sales tax numbers. Figures representing April will be released next month and should show how the pandemic is impacting local economies when the state was largely shut down. In March, much of Arkansas was on a partial shutdown for two weeks.

Craighead County and Jonesboro have been on an unprecedented sales tax collections streak during the last five years, setting records for collections each year, and rarely having a month in which collections were less than the same month in the previous year.

The county performed through the first five months of the year similarly to its seat. The county collected $1.785 million in sales and use taxes in May, a 1% ($48,000) upswing from the same month in 2019.

For the year, the county has netted $9.269 million in county sales tax collections, a 2.6% increase from the previous five month period in 2019. Both the county and city were on pace to set all-time collections records prior to the pandemic.