Sales tax collections defy odds in Northeast Arkansas

by George Jared ([email protected]) 923 views 

The continuing pandemic and deep recession have seriously damaged many economic metrics such as employment and GDP output. Many cities and counties throughout the country have also suffered from declining sales tax receipts as consumers are spending less for the year as a whole.

That trend is not manifesting itself in Jonesboro or Craighead County in 2020. The city and county are on pace to set all-time sales and use tax collections following torrid collections in August.

Jonesboro collected $1.748 million in August, a staggering 10.2% increase from the previous August, according to figures released by the city. It’s the second best month for collections this year following only February, which saw $1.94 million in sales use tax collections.

Sales tax collections lag 60 days, meaning the numbers released represent sales tax collections from June. 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. June was one month after the state started its phased re-opening of the economy.

For the year, Jonesboro has collected $13.216 million in city sales and use taxes, a 4.2% uptick as compared to the same eight months in 2019. The city set its all-time sales collections record last year. The city remains 2.3% ($292,373) ahead of its projected budget.

Craighead County has reported strong sales and use collections. The county collected $1.986 million, an 8.9% increase when compared to the same month in 2019. For the year, the county has collected $14.894 million, a 3.4% increase from last year.