Northwest Arkansas sales tax revenue up 14.1% in February report

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 611 views 

Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale reported a combined revenue of $9.251 million, up 14.1% from a year ago. During the first two months of reports in 2022, the tax revenue was $17.106 million, up 13% from the $15.14 million in the first two months of 2021.

The February report reflects a 1% local tax for the sale of goods and services in December 2021, which creates a two-month lag in the data.

Three of the four cities posted $2 million or more in sales tax revenue. Fayetteville’s revenue totaled $2.7 million, up 11.97% from a year ago. The strong results are also a record for the city, regardless of month. It was the highest revenue reported by the city by more than $228,000 over the prior month.

Fayetteville’s first two months of reports in 2022 show revenue of $5.172 million, up 15.6% from the same period of 2021.

The city of Rogers also had a stellar report this month with sales generated in December producing $2.629 million in revenue, up 14.12% from the year-ago period. Rogers also set a record with revenue topping all revenue earned in any other month by at least $325,000. City officials have budgeted for sales tax gains of 13% this year, after revenue grew 15.6% last year in spite of COVID-19 challenges. With two months of data collected for this calendar year, Rogers is ahead of budget by more than $1,000 during the first two month reports in 2022.

Bentonville, the smallest city by population among the four, also had good results. Sales generated in December pushed sales tax revenue in February up 10.03% to $2.032 million. It was only the second time on record that Bentonville has reported sales tax revenue of more than $2 million for a single month. While the February report was a record overall, the other time was in June 2020 with revenue totaling $2.031 million. For the first two reporting months, Bentonville’s sales tax revenue was $3.504 million, down 2.57% from the same period in 2021.

Bentonville Mayor Stephanie Orman has said the city’s sales tax projections for this year are conservative coming off the heels of 28.22% growth last year.

Springdale saw the largest percentage gain in sales tax revenue this month with the February report totaling $1.889 million, up 22.31% from the year-ago period. Springdale is still waiting for its first $2 million month but it came closer in February than any other report thus far. Last year the city posted revenue growth of 15.98%. For the first two reporting months Springdale’s sales tax revenue totaled $3.645 million, up 21% over the year ago period.

Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse has said the city’s projections for this year are conservative because of risks to the overall economy with inflation and escalating global situations.

Economists said the January retail sales rally was lifted by rising inflation as well as a post-holiday shopping surge with the Consumer Price Index up 7.5% in January compared to the prior year.

“Consumers say they are worried about inflation, but they continue to spend,” PNC’s chief economist Gus Faucher noted to investors this month. “Even taking into account the December decline, retail sales in recent months have been increasing much faster than prices, so households are purchasing larger volumes of goods and services, not just paying higher prices.”

The U.S. consumer confidence index recently declined to a reading of 110.5 as inflationary concerns dampened spending expectations for the future. Economists think this might slow sales tax growth reported in April and beyond. Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, expects short-term growth prospects to weaken through the first half of the year. She said the number of consumers planning to purchase homes, automobiles, major appliances, and vacations over the next six months also fell.