Sales tax collections in Jonesboro and Craighead County prove resilient during pandemic

by George Jared ([email protected]) 536 views 

Jonesboro and Craighead County officials have been bracing for a free-fall in sales and use tax collections due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but up to this point Northeast Arkansas’ largest city and county are still operating in the black for the year.

In the month of June, the city collected $1.504 million, a 4.8% ($76,450) drop from the previous June, according to figures released by the city. It was the largest drop by percentage of any month this year, beating the 0.3% drop in February collections.

For the year, however, the city has collected $9.771 million in sales and use tax which is a 2.4% ($233,246) increase as compared to 2019, which set the all-time sales tax collection record for Jonesboro. Collections have stayed ahead of the budgeted numbers as well. At this point the city of Jonesboro is 1.2% ($119,832) ahead of budget.

Sales tax collections lag 60 days, meaning the numbers released represent sales tax collections from April. Officials have repeatedly warned the numbers could move erratically due to the precautions taken during the pandemic including the partial shutdown of businesses throughout the state. April was the peak of the partial shutdown in the state.

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 six months of the year similarly to its seat. Craighead County collected $1.727 million in sales and use taxes in June, a less than 1% ($31,000) drop from the same month in 2019.

For the year, the county has netted $10.998 million in county sales tax collections, a 2.4% increase from the previous six month period in 2019. Both the county and city were on pace to set all-time collections records prior to the pandemic.