DATA: Austin not hit as hard by sales tax revenue dip compared to other Texas cities

Customers wait in line at NeWorlDeli in Austin on May 1. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Customers wait in line at NeWorlDeli in Austin on May 1. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

Customers wait in line at NeWorlDeli in Austin on May 1. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

Despite the cancellation of South by Southwest Conference & Festivals on March 6, the city of Austin’s slowdown of collected sales tax revenue was less drastic than figures collected across the state.

Sales tax revenue generated by the city of Austin in March totaled $20.18 million, according to numbers released May 6 by the Texas comptroller of public accounts. That figure represents a decrease of 4.46% compared to sales tax revenue generated in March 2019.

May sales tax revenue data is based on March sales from across Texas.

In all, Austin generated $943,061 less in sales tax revenue in March 2020 than it did in March 2019, the state data shows.

This is the first month Austin has reported a decline in year-over-year generated sales tax revenue since January 2018.


However, the city’s decline is not as pronounced as the sales tax revenue declines experienced by Texas’ other major metropolitan centers and statewide.

Dallas had its generated sales tax revenue drop by $2.79 million year over year, a 9.42% decrease from March 2019. In Houston, revenue declined by 10.26%, and the city lost out on $6.57 million compared to the year prior.

By percentage of revenue decline, San Antonio was hit the hardest out of the four metropolitan areas, experiencing a 10.74% decline in year-over-year sales tax revenue.

The state of Texas as a whole generated sales tax revenue totaling $2.58 billion in March, which represents more than a 9% drop compared to last year, according to a May 1 news release by the Texas comptroller of public accounts.

In Austin, the drop in sales tax revenue came after the March 6 cancellation of SXSW by the city of Austin and Travis County.

According to SXSW, the festival contributed $356 million to Austin's economy in 2019.
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.