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  • Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

Jonesboro, Craighead County see an increase in sales tax revenue during the pandemic

JONESBORO, Ark- Despite the pandemic's deep economic issues, the county and city saw an impressive increase in sales tax revenue for October and 2020 compared to this same time last year.

"We projected really a less than 1% increase, and fortunately it's about 5% thus far for the first ten months," says Director of Finance for the city of Jonesboro Steve Purtee. "That can be due to several things. Number 1 is the sales tax increase."

The stimulus check package is also considered a reason for the increase.

When the pandemic hit, they were cautiously optimistic.

Still, they were worried as sales tax revenue is a large part of their budget.

"The sales tax revenue for us is about 75% of our revenue streams," according to Purtee. "So, that's a significant portion of our revenue."

Sales tax brought in during October 2020 was a 2.4% increase compared to October 2019.

Jonesboro also saw a 4.7% increase from 2019. Craighead County also has an uptick.

The county saw a 6% increase compared to October 2019 and a 5.4% increase overall for the year.

Purtee says they are keeping this in mind when planning the 2021 budget.

He says they were anticipating a huge loss, so this helped offset lost revenue from the pandemic.

"We were anticipating it could have been as high as 50% to 60% relative to this year's activity. So, we were anticipating some significant expenditure cuts that we might have to consider. Fortunately, we did not have to do that. We saw our way clear to appropriate an additional three million dollars in expenditures about two months ago."

Purtee says they hope the revenue increase will continue through the rest of the year.

There is a lag in reports, so the city won't find out how well they did for November and December did until 2021.


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