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Featured: The Center for Border Economic Studies (CBEST) of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Friday, January 27, 2017, hosted its Economic Forecast Luncheon at the McAllen Public Library Conference Center. Visitors heard about the research and predicted outcomes of economic development in the area from speakers that included Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca, Governor of Tamaulipas, Mexico; Dr. Salvador Contreras, Director of CBEST; Dr. Dennis Jansen, Professor of Economics, Texas A&M University; María D. Juárez-Serna, Director of the UTRGV Small Business Development Center; and Dr. Keith R. Phillips, Assistant Vice President and Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, San Antonio Branch. Contreras addressed current and future regional economic activity, including the new, large retailers building in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area that place the MSA among some of the top metros in Texas, including San Antonio and Austin. The luncheon concluded with Gov. García Cabeza de Vaca, who told the crowd, “We can grow juntos (together) more than we can as two,” and encouraged our country to “build bridges, not walls.”

Photograph By SILVER SALAS

While the combined average of cities statewide in December 2016 showed a 0.9 percent decrease,  Edinburg recorded a 1.33 percent increase in its retail economy, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. For the month of December 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy – as measured by local sales taxes generated from purchases of eligible goods and services – had the third-best showing among the Valley’s largest cities. That figure is based on sales made in December 2016 by businesses that report tax monthly; October, November and December sales by quarterly filers; and 2016 sales by businesses that report tax annually. The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city. For December 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy generated $2,248,780.54 in local sales taxes, compared with $2,219,178.85 during the same period in 2015, representing the improvement of 1.33 percent, also according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

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Edinburg retail economy in December 2016 performed better than average of all cities statewide; Mayor García, Mayor Darling to share latest economic news in Edinburg on Thursday, March 2

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

While the combined average of cities statewide in December 2016 showed a 0.9 percent decrease,  Edinburg recorded a 1.33 percent increase in its retail economy, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

For the month of December 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy – as measured by local sales taxes generated from purchases of eligible goods and services – had the third-best showing among the Valley’s largest cities.

That figure is based on sales made in December 2016 by businesses that report tax monthly; October, November and December sales by quarterly filers; and 2016 sales by businesses that report tax annually.

The local sales tax data is among the latest economic barometers featured in a detailed summary provided by the state comptroller’s office, which released retail sales figures on Wednesday, February 8, 2017.

Among its many duties, the Texas Comptroller’s office is the state’s chief tax collector, accountant, revenue estimator and treasurer.

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

The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert, and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.

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

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar also announced on Wednesday, February 8, 2017, that cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts combined generated $858.6 million in local sales taxes in December 2016, which represents 1 percent less than in December 2015.

“The cities of San Antonio, Fort Worth and Plano saw noticeable increases in sales tax allocations,” Hegar said. “The cities of Houston and Midland saw significant decreases in sales tax allocations.”

Pharr had the best showing for all major Valley cities for the month of December 2016, registering a 4.09 percent improvement over December 2015.

Based on local sales taxes generated, McAllen had the best showing in terms of revenue for December 2016 ($6,813,759.93), followed by Brownsville ($3,775,340.11), Harlingen ($2,441,193.54), and Edinburg ($2,248,780.54).

For December 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy generated $2,248,780.54 in local sales taxes, compared with $2,219,178.85 during the same period in 2015, representing the improvement of 1.33 percent, also according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

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).

HOW KEY VALLEY CITIES PERFORMED FOR DECEMBER 2016

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 December 2016:

December 2016 compared with December 2015

McAllen: $6,813,759.93, down 10.36 percent compared with December 2015 ($7,601,824.55);
Brownsville: $3,775,340.11, down 8.28 percent compared with December 2015 ($4,116,515.06);
Harlingen: $2,441,193.54, up 2.30 percent compared with December 2015 ($2,386,106.00);
Edinburg:$2,248,780.54, up 1.33 percent compared with December 2015 ($2,219,178.85);
Pharr: $1,569,999.61, up 4.09 percent compared with December 2015 ($1,508,183.66);
Mission: $1,486,215.64, down 6.30 percent compared with December 2015 ($1,586,146.03); and
Weslaco: $1,231,213.20, up 0.29 percent compared with December 2015 ($1,227,638.19).

For details of the December 2016 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:

https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/transparency/local/allocations/sales-tax/

EDINBURG MAYOR GARCÍA, MCALLEN MAYOR DARLING TO ADDRESS REGION DURING 13th ANNUAL STATE OF REAL ESTATE FORUM IN EDINBURG ON THURSDAY, MARCH 2, 2017 

Additional insights into the local and regional economies will be offered in Edinburg during the 13th Annual State of Real Estate Forum, sponsored by Edwards Abstract and Title Co.

That firm on Wednesday, February 9, 2017, announced that Edinburg Mayor Richard García and McAllen Mayor James E. Darling will participate as guest speakers during the gathering, which is free and open to the public.

However reservations are required and can be confirmed by contacting Elva Jackson Garza, Vice President & Marketing Manager, Edwards Abstract and Title Co., at elva.garza@edwards-titleco.com or by calling 956/383-4951

Early reservations are being made at a record pace. Seating is limited to the first 250 who register on or before the deadline of February 24, 2017.

The State of Real Estate Forum will be held on Thursday, March 2, 2017 at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance located at 118 Paseo Del Prado.  

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast included and the program will start promptly at 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.  More than 250 real estate industry professionals, civic and business leaders attend the Forum annually.

Dr. Ted C. Jones, Senior Vice President–Chief Economist for Stewart Title Guaranty Company and Director of Investor Relations for Stewart Information Services Corporation (NYSE-STC) will headline the Forum as the keynote speaker as he has for the past 11 years.  

Jones’ presentation for 2017 is titled Things Change – The Outlook for Real Estate and the Economy

He will provide insight and statistics on the national, state and local job markets and specific local real estate market analysis and various other indicators that affect the overall economy.

“I want to personally extend an invitation to real estate industry and business professionals to join Edwards at the Forum. Dr. Jones travels across the country as he makes over 150 presentations and we are proud that he makes time every year to visit Edwards and the Rio Grande Valley,” said Byron Jay Lewis, President and CEO of Edwards. 

“We are pleased to welcome Mayor Richard García and Mayor Jim Darling as guest speakers. As the region grows, these two leaders are in the forefront of change of the Valley’s landscape,” added Lewis.

Richard H. García is a Federal Criminal Law Attorney and a senior partner with an established law firm. 

A native of Edinburg, García graduated from Edinburg High School and continued his education at the University of Texas-Pan American and received a Juris Doctorate at Texas Southern University in Houston. 

He served as Edinburg Municipal Judge from 1975-1978 and was a County Court-at-Law Judge for 16 years. García served as chair of the Texas Border Coalition twice and is proud to have been appointed to serve on the Texas Adult Probation Commission. 

He is currently the President of the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

James E. Darling is an attorney specializing in local government law (28 years city attorney – City of McAllen, and other governmental entities) and he is licensed by the Texas Supreme Court, Southern District of Texas Federal Court.  

Darling is a graduate of the Baylor Law School (1977) and Baylor University (BA 1975). 

Some of his current leadership roles in the community include Chairman, Lower Rio Grande River Water Authority; Board Member, Region M Water Planning Group; Board Member, McAllen Economic Development Corporation; Board Member, McAllen Foreign Trade Zone, Inc.; Chairman Hidalgo-McAllen International Bridge Board; Chairman, Anzaldúas International Bridge Board, and President,Texas Municipal League, Region 12. 

He has served as mayor for two terms.

Edwards Abstract and Title Co. operates full service offices in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties in the cities of Brownsville, Edinburg, Harlingen, McAllen, and South Padre Island.

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Elva Jackson Garza contributed to this story. For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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