Jonesboro, Craighead County on the verge of new sales tax growth records

by George Jared ([email protected]) 272 views 

Jonesboro’s sales and use tax base continues to grow at an unprecedented rate and with two months to go, including the holiday shopping season, collections have nearly matched all of 2020 – an all-time record setting year.

Northeast Arkansas’ hub city collected $1.959 million in city sales and use taxes in October, a 17.1% ($286,302) uptick from the same month in 2020. By percentage, it was the third highest month of collections this year trailing only the amounts collected in May and June. When compared to budgeted projections, monthly collections were slightly lower (15.8%), but the city is still on track to beat its budget projections by almost 14%.

Through the first 10 months this year, only one month of April has had lower sales tax collections than the previous year when collections were down 5.5% ($85,277). Year to date collections have topped $18.931 million, a 13.7% ($2.287 million) increase from the first 10 months of 2020. During the next two months, the city only needs to collect a little more than $1 million to break its all-time sales and use tax receipts collections record.

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.

Talk Business & Politics only analyzes city sales and use tax collections each month to gauge trends, but the recent U.S. Census will place more county sales tax revenues in city coffers, city communications director Bill Campbell said. Before the Census, the city received 69.7% of the collected county sales tax, but that number has been moved to 70.6% based on population shifts. Brookland was the only other city in Craighead County to add population.

Craighead County slightly outperformed the city in sales tax collections during the last month. In October, the county collected $2.291 million in sales and use taxes, a nearly 18.8% ($363,000) increase from the previous October. For the year, Craighead County is up about 14% from the same time period in 2020.