March sales tax allocations rise in Hays County; municipalities brace for coronavirus effect on budget

April numbers will better reflect the impact of a full month of business closures; this has led to municipalities cutting expenditures where possible. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
April numbers will better reflect the impact of a full month of business closures; this has led to municipalities cutting expenditures where possible. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)

April numbers will better reflect the impact of a full month of business closures; this has led to municipalities cutting expenditures where possible. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)

Sales tax allocations for the month of March were up year-over-year from 2019, despite a majority of businesses closing in mid-March due to coronavirus.

April numbers will better reflect the impact of a full month of business closures; this has led to municipalities cutting expenditures where possible.

Data from the Texas Comptroller’s Office released May 6 showed gains in 2020 for Hays County, San Marcos, Kyle and Buda. Dozens of Texas counties had lower sales tax revenue in March after restaurants, retail and service businesses were forced to close for the last two weeks of the month.

The city of San Marcos took in $3.74 million in March as compared to $3.04 million a year earlier, for a gain of 23.13%. Year-to-date, San Marcos is 15.49% ahead of 2019. For San Marcos, sales tax counts for 44% of general fund revenue for 2020.

Melissa Neel, San Marcos assistant director of finance, said budgeted sales tax revenue was $3.3 million, which is recognized as April revenue. Neel said the city anticipates a slow increase in sales tax revenue as businesses reopen at limited capacity, per order of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. The city is prepared for a shortfall of 25%-50% in April transactions.


In an email to Community Impact Newspaper, Neel said the city has prepared for a 25% shortfall with cost reductions of $5.5 million in operating expenditures as Phase II of the governor’s plan opens businesses to 50% capacity.

Total statewide allocation payments showed a gain of 1.81% from 2019. Hays County had a net payment of $2.27 million as compared to $1.9 million in 2019, a gain of 19.51%.

Kyle had sales tax revenue increase from $765,827 in 2019 to $870,437 this year, a gain of 13.65%. Year-to-date numbers are up 12.83%

Buda saw gains from $653,407 to $672,682 in March, a gain of 2.95%. For the year, Buda is 14.62% ahead in sales tax allocation from last year.

Round Rock was the only city among Texas' 20 biggest that had more revenue in March 2020 than in March 2019, up 2.75%.
By Joe Warner
Joe Warner is executive editor of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor for Central Texas and senior editor of the flagship Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto newspaper. He came to Central Texas from Metro Detroit, where he was editor and general manager of several daily and weekly publications. He is the former president of the Michigan Press Association and was on the MPA board of directors for nine years.


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