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Featured, from left: Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Ramiro Garza, Jr., Edinburg City Manager; and Edinburg City Councilmember Richard Molina, in the Gallery of the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday, February 10 for Rio Grande Valley Day at the State Capitol.

Photograph By DIEGO REYNA

Edinburg’s retail economy for the month of February 2015 was 14.38 percent better than the same month last year, generating $1,560,490.17 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,364,200.96 in February 2014, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. That showing was the best among all of the Valley’s major cities for February 2015, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, which on Wednesday, April 8, released statewide figures, which represents the most up-to-date figures information for that state agency. Edinburg’s almost 15 percent improvement also was significantly higher than the average of all city economies in the state, which combined showed an improvement of 3.3 percent when comparing February 2015 with the same month last year, the state comptroller’s office also reported. The amount of local sales taxes collected helps reflect the strength of an economy, along with construction activities, per capita income, education, historical performances, and related trends. Year-to-date, the Edinburg economy is 6.40 percent ahead of 2014, having produced $6,677,232.04 in local sales taxes in 2015, compared with $6,275,246.74 during the same period last year. The local sales tax figures represent sales reported by monthly tax filers for February 2015, sent to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in March, and returned as sales tax rebates to the respective local government entities in April. The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the EEDC uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city. Fitch Ratings, Inc., a global credit conglomerate which rates economies on their strengths and weaknesses for national and international businesses and investors, in early March gave independent and positive views on Edinburg’s economy. On March 4, the New York-based credit rating agency provided its public analyses of Edinburg’s economy and financial activities of the city government and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. Among its key findings: Because of its position near the Mexican border along a major transportation route, Edinburg serves as a distribution center, benefiting from the trade generated by cross-border manufacturing activity as well as the agricultural production in the region. Retail trade, government, education and health services are all major components of the area economy; and further economic expansion is expected in the near term related to $150 million in projects underway at the newly designated University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, including the region’s first medical school, and a $200 million expansion of the local hospital. Planned projects include a $650 million power plant and an upscale retail, entertainment, and hotel complex.

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Edinburg retail economy for February 2015 shows 14.38 percent increase over same month last year as positive future predicted by Fitch Ratings, Inc.

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Edinburg’s retail economy for the month of February 2015 was 14.38 percent better than the same month last year, generating $1,560,490.17 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,364,200.96 in February 2014, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

That showing was the best among all of the Valley’s major cities for February 2015, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, which on Wednesday, April 8, released statewide figures, which represents the most up-to-date figures information for that state agency.

Edinburg’s almost 15 percent improvement also was significantly higher than the average of all city economies in the state, which combined showed an improvement of 3.3 percent when comparing February 2015 with the same month last year, the state comptroller’s office also reported.

The amount of local sales taxes collected helps reflect the strength of an economy, along with construction activities, per capita income, education, historical performances, and related trends.

Year-to-date, the Edinburg economy is 6.40 percent ahead of 2014, having produced $6,677,232.04 in local sales taxes in 2015, compared with $6,275,246.74 during the same period last year.

The local sales tax figures represent sales reported by monthly tax filers for February 2015, sent to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in March, and returned as sales tax rebates to the respective local government entities in April.

The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the EEDC uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city.

The sales tax, formally known as the State Sales and Use Tax, is imposed on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods, as well as taxable services. Texas cities, counties, transit authorities and special purpose districts have the option of imposing an additional local sales tax for a combined total of state and local taxes of 8 1/4% (.0825).

EDINBURG ECONOMY ATTRACTS INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ATTENTION

Fitch Ratings, Inc., a global credit conglomerate which rates economies on their strengths and weaknesses for national and international businesses and investors, in early March gave independent and positive views on Edinburg’s economy.

Fitch Ratings’ assessments were part of its unbiased judgements of the city’s key economic indicators and of the he ability of the local government to repay numerous bonds that have been secured by Edinburg for numerous jobs-creation projects.

On March 4, the New York-based credit rating agency provided its public analyses of Edinburg’s economy and financial activities of the city government and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

Among its key findings:

Because of its position near the Mexican border along a major transportation route, Edinburg serves as a distribution center, benefiting from the trade generated by cross-border manufacturing activity as well as the agricultural production in the region. Retail trade, government, education and health services are all major components of the area economy;

Further economic expansion is expected in the near term related to $150 million in projects underway at the newly designated University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, including the region’s first medical school, and a $200 million expansion of the local hospital. Planned projects include a $650 million power plant and an upscale retail, entertainment, and hotel complex;

The city’s economy has remained stable despite strong population growth and weak wealth and income indicators. The average 2014 unemployment rate was 6.2%, down from 7.4% a year prior;

The city has maintained a sound financial position. Ending balances have been strong, and have increased in recent years;

The city’s wealth and income indicators are below average but growing rapidly due to the ongoing diversification of the employment base. Unemployment continues to trend downward and the city is poised to benefit from several major economic development projects that are currently in process; and

Edinburg’s tax base is fairly diverse with a mix of power plants, healthcare, retail, and manufacturing among its top 10 taxpayers which account for less than 9% of total taxable assessed valuation (TAV). Recessionary TAV losses were limited to a modest 1.7% decline in fiscal 2011. TAV increased in fiscal 2015 by almost 5% due to stable commercial growth and the annexation of 2,200 acres after posting modest 2% – 3% gains in recent years.

The full report is available online at:

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150304006353/en/Fitch-Rates-Edinburg-Texas-COs-Sales-Tax#.VSYniFwTui7

HOW OTHER VALLEY CITIES, COUNTIES PERFORMED IN FEBRUARY 2015

All cities in Hidalgo County reported a total of $11,323,469.90 in local sales taxes in February 2015, compared with $11,042,138.37 in February 2014, an increase of 2.54 percent. Hidalgo County government does not collect a local sales tax.

All cities in Cameron County generated $5,170,898.33 in local sales taxes in February 2015, compared with $5,367,097.77 in February 2014, a decrease of 3.65 percent. Cameron County government does not collect a local sales tax.

All cities in Starr County produced $408,801.80 in local sales taxes in February 2015, compared with $406,383.28 during the same month in 2014, an increase of 0.59 percent. Starr County government does not collect a local sales tax.

All cities in Willacy County produced $117,086.27 in local sales taxes in February 2015, compared with $140,132.32 during February 2014, a decrease of 16.44 percent. Willacy County government does not collect a local sales tax.

Based on the amount of sales taxes generated, according to the state comptroller’s office, the Valley’s major cities ranked accordingly in the following local sales tax figures for February 2015:

  •  McAllen: $4,605,039.81, up 0.40 percent from February 2014 ($4,586,562.69);
  •  Brownsville: $2,701,171.79, down 2.23 percent over February 2014 ($2,762,948.89);
  •  Harlingen: $1,621,062.45, down 6.49 percent from February 2014 ($1,733,736.04);
  •  Edinburg: $1,560,490.17, up 14.38 percent over February 2014 ($1,364,200.96);
  •  Pharr: $1,195,831.74, up 6.69 percent over February 2014 ($1,120,837.41);
  •  Mission: $1,126,951.13, down 9.73 percent from February 2014 ($1,248,502.68); and
  •  Weslaco: $957,764.17, up 1.60 percent over February 2014 ($942,668.49).

For details of the February 2015 local sales tax figures for all cities, counties, transit systems, and special purpose taxing districts, locate the Monthly Sales Tax Allocation Comparison Summary Reports at the comptroller’s website: http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/allocsum/compsum.html

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The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, and Steven Edward Cruz, II. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://www.EdbgCityLimits.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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