April sales tax revenue data is based on March sales from across Texas. Social distancing and business restrictions were put in place for much of the state starting in mid-March due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. According to the release, next month’s data should show a further decline, as restrictions and stay-at-home orders were in effect for all of April.
The year-over-year decline in April represents the largest drop since January 2010, according to the state. In April 2019, sales tax revenue surpassed $2.8 billion.
Last month's total was also a decline compared to the $2.65 billion generated in March.
“State sales tax collections declined as a result of efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 through business closures, crowd limits and stay-at-home orders adopted in the state, as well as a precipitous drop in worldwide demand for oil,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said in the news release. “The steepest declines in tax remittances were from businesses most quickly and dramatically affected by social distancing: restaurants, performing arts venues, movie theaters, theme parks and fitness centers, as well as department stores and boutique retail shops. However, those losses were, to a degree, offset by increases from big-box retailers, grocery stores and online vendors.”
April also showed a fall in motor fuel tax collection, with only $284 million collected, a 12% drop year over year. Natural gas production taxes were also down 45% year over year.
“Remittances from oil- and gas-related sectors also fell significantly as oil and gas exploration and production companies slashed capital spending in response to the crash in oil price,” Hegar said.
The following graph shows sales tax revenue collected in Texas during the current 2019-20 fiscal year.