Sales tax revenue in Northwest Arkansas’s largest cities continues to rise with solid collections reported in August. Spending across the region is up from last year despite fickle consumer behavior that has created a yo-yo effect in the macroeconomy.
Tax collections from June that were reported by area cities in August totaled $4.598 million, up 11.78% from a year ago. Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville each collect a 2% local sax tax that is split evenly between bond repayment and each city’s general fund. This report tracks the 1% tax going to fund city budgets.
Bentonville reported a 47% jump in revenue this month, an increase city leaders link to a weak comparison from tax rebates subtracted from last year’s results. Revenue collections climbed to $968,097 in Bentonville for the month, helping to push the city further out front of its 2013 budget. A year ago collections totaled $656,619 after the rebate was deducted.
For the 16th consecutive month Rogers has reported tax revenue in excess of $1 million as its growing retail centers continue to attract shoppers from inside and outside the immediate region. Businesses in Rogers collected $1.22 million in taxes for the month, up 8.32% from last year’s period.
Fayetteville reported tax collections of $1.5 million for the month, this compared to $1.44 million in the year-ago period, recorded gains of 3.96%.
Springdale’s collections rose 2.6% to $904,653, versus $881,546 reported in the same month last year.
Collections in Siloam Springs, Bella Vista and Lowell also rose from a year ago. Each of the these cities reported double-digit growth in revenue compared to August 2012. Cumulatively these smaller cities received $650,656 in revenue during August, versus $581,932 in the year-ago period.
Sales tax collections are sign of consumer spending and confidence but given the two-month lag in data they provide a look back, not forward.
Year-to-date collections remain solid for the cities, which is another healthy sign for the local economy, adding to improving home sales and prices, a growing population and expanding labor force.
Mike Malone, CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council, said recently that 30 new people a day are moving to Northwest because of the job opportunities and quality of life this region affords.
Economists agree that has a lot to do with the fiscal health of local cities that continue to invest in needed infrastructure, parks, trails and entertainment venues. The population growth is also driving the need for more housing which also supports commercial development across the two-county area.
Collections across the Benton and Washington counties are also up 7.44% through the first seven months of this year. The two counties reported combined revenue of $40.523 million. Benton County collections rose 10.22% year-to-date and Washington County collections are up 4.39%.
Sales Tax Revenue (year-to-date)
2013: $6.386 million
2012: $6.147 million
2013: $9.788 million
2012: $8.694 million
2013: $11.935 million
2013: $1.904 million
2012: $1.703 million
2013: $1.717 million
2012: $1.571 million