Jonesboro continues double-digit sales tax growth streak

by George Jared ([email protected]) 336 views 

The city of Jonesboro and Northeast Arkansas’ largest county, Craighead County, have been in the midst of a nearly decade long sales tax collection surge. Almost every single year since 2012, the city and county have outpaced collections from the previous record-setting year.

Despite strong national economic headwinds – labor shortages, supply chain issues, and stalled policy making in Washington D.C. – Northeast Arkansas’ hub city continues on a torrid collections pace and is well-positioned to break the record set in 2020, perhaps by a double-digit margin.

Jonesboro collected $1.962 million in city sales and use tax in September, an 11.8% ($207,435) uptick as compared to the same month last year, according to numbers released by the city. Year to date, the city has collected $16.972 million, a 13.4% ($2 million) increase from the same nine months in 2020.

When compared to the projected budget figures for the month, the growth is even higher. The monthly total is 18.5% ($306,000) higher than was budgeted. Budget projections, year to date are also up more than 13% in total. To meet the city’s budgeted sales and use tax collection projection for 2021, during the last three months of the year the city would only have to collect about $3 million.

The only month that showed a decline this year was April, when collections were down about 5.5%.

Sales tax numbers lag by 60 days meaning the numbers released were collected two months prior. Economists consider sales tax collections as a leading economic indicator, one that can show how a local economy can be expected to perform in the short-term.

Craighead County has had a similar collection pattern this year. In September, the county collected $2.275 million in sales and use taxes, a nearly 31% increase from the previous September. For the year, Craighead County is up about 11% from the same time period in 2020.