McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — The South Texas town of McAllen along with other Texas cities along the Mexico border experienced a jump in retail sales in November after travel restrictions were lifted, according to new sales tax data released by the state’s comptroller.
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hager reported that McAllen had a 34.8% increase in city sales and use taxes in November from the previous year. This increase coincided with the Biden administration easing border restrictions to allow Mexican nationals vaccinated against COVID-19 to come into the United States to shop.
McAllen will receive $7.7 million back from the state for sales in November — that’s a $2 million increase from the $5.7 million the city received for the same period the year before.
And that’s welcome news to McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez, who told Border Report the city has been hurting after border restrictions remained in place for nearly 20 months — extending back to the Trump presidency, as a way to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Absolutely it has something to do with the borders reopening. It certainly has some to do with the bridge reopening with sales up almost 35%,” Rodriguez said.
“To receive $2 million more than the same month last year. It’s huge. It’s huge!” he said.
Overall, cities across Texas experienced a 25% increase in sales in November, from the previous year, Heger’s office announced Wednesday.
Sales tax distributions from the state to border cities for November sales:
- Brownsville, on the Gulf Coast across from Matamoros, Mexico, had a 32% increase in sales in November and is getting $4.8 million from the state, up from $3.6 million a year ago.
- The West Texas town of El Paso had a 28% increase in sales as Mexican nationals from Juarez, Mexico, returned to shop. El Paso is getting nearly a $2 million bump in sales tax from the state, totaling $10.4 million, up from $8.1 million received in January 2020.
- Laredo, across from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, had a 27% increase, earning the South Texas border city $4.5 million from the state.
- Eagle Pass experienced a 30% jump in sales in November.
- Del Rio had 22% more sales in November.
- Roma had a 14% increase in sales.
- Rio Grande City had a 11% spike.
Rodriguez said he hopes sales will continue on an upswing in McAllen because the city coffers suffered during prolonged land border restrictions.
“It was pent-up demand,” Rodriguez said about the swarm of shoppers who crossed from Reynosa, Mexico, to McAllen when the border reopened fully.
“They opened the bridge and they came over,” he said. “Let’s see if that continues to last. I think it will.”
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.