Northwest Arkansas sales tax revenue up 13.6% in March report

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 825 views 

Consumer spending is robust in Benton and Washington counties, with the four largest cities reporting a 13.6% jump in sales tax revenue in their March reports. Total revenue reported in March was nearly $8.681 million from Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale.

Each city posted double-digit gains in the monthly report compared to a year ago. The tax reflects 1% of the local sales tax for goods sold and services rendered in January, creating a two-month lag in the data. While the March total represents strong consumer spending, the numbers are not adjusted for inflation. The federal Consumer Price Index was 6.4% higher in January than the previous January.

For the first three reporting months of reports in 2023, the four cities reported cumulative tax revenue of $27.553 million, up 11.29% from the $24.738 million.

Fayetteville, the largest city in the report by population, reported almost $2.43 million, up 11.4% from a year ago. Through the first three reporting month reports, Fayetteville’s sales tax revenue totals $7.977 million, up 8.47% from the $7.354 million reported a year ago. The city budgeted for 8% revenue growth this year. Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan said Fayetteville’s economic health depends on a vibrant, diverse ecosystem of business and tourism.

“Despite ongoing pandemic uncertainty, we continue to see positive trends in Fayetteville’s economic vitality. Last year we saw a $500 million increase in taxable sales compared to 2021 and the city added 4,000 new jobs added by area businesses,” Jordan said.

He said while much of the city’s population is resilient amid inflationary prices, there remains plenty who are struggling. Jordan expects the city’s growth to continue this year regardless of recession.

Springdale revenue reported in March was 14.14% higher than a year ago at $1.864 million. The report is the best March on record, and while the numbers are not adjusted for inflation, Mayor Doug Sprouse said the growth each month has managed to outpace the CPI. Like Fayetteville, Springdale has budgeted for 8% revenue growth this year, and he expects revenue will meet the budget.

Springdale’s revenue equaled nearly $5.847 million in the first three reporting months, up 10.75% from  $5.279 million in the year-ago period, also a record period.

Rogers revenue totaled $2.094 million in the March report, up 13.02% from the $1.853 million a year ago. The March report also reversed the flat sales revenue report in February and it was better than 8.7% growth reported in January. Through the first three months of reports this year, Rogers posted sales tax revenue of $7.053 million, up 6.28% from $6.636 a year ago. The city budget for annual growth of 10.6%.

Bentonville reported the largest gains in March, with January tax revenue of $2.483 million, up 16.15% from the month last year. Bentonville revenue growth rose $29.13% in January, and 22.17% in February. Bentonville also is benefiting from Walmart corporate employees returning to the office this year after working remotely for much of the past several months.

Through the first three months of sales tax reports, Bentonville has received $6.676 million, up 21.86% from $5.478 million in the year-ago period.