Edinburg’s retail economy during April 2018 showed an almost 10 percent improvement over the same month in 2017, representing the fourth consecutive month of growth over the same period last year, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

 

The previous month, in March 2018, the local retail economy registered an almost 12 percent improvement over the same month in 2017, the best showing among all major Valley cities.

 

In February 2018 and January 2018, Edinburg’s retail economy reported an 11.09 percent and 9.29 percent improvement, respectively, over the same two months in 2017.

 

All figures for Edinburg, along with every other governmental entity in Texas which collect a local sales tax, are provided by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. The most recent findings are based on sales made in April 2018 by businesses that report tax monthly.

 

The Edinburg EDC, of which Joey Treviño is the Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of Mayor Richard Molina, Mayor Pro-Tem David Torres, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember Jorge Salinas.

 

The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Councilmember Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Councilmember Salinas as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Molina and Mayor Pro Tem Torres as Members.

 

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.

 

The local sales tax is also 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.

 

Edinburg’s retail economy in April 2018 produced $1,770,866.34 in local sales taxes, compared to $1,612,167.24 in April 2017 – representing an improvement of 9.84 percent.

 

Under the reporting system maintained online by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, for all public entities which generate local sales taxes, year-to-date totals begin in November of each year.

 

Between November 2017 and April 2018, Edinburg’s retail economy has generated $11,200,365.04 in local sales taxes, compared with $10,470,649.34 from November 2016 to April 2017, an improvement of 6.96 percent.

 

In terms of local sales tax revenue for April 2018, McAllen led all major Valley cities with $4,513,525.47, while Brownsville was second ($2,777,202.41), Harlingen was third ($1,783,854.21), and Edinburg was fourth ($1,770,866.34).

 

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 In April 2018 and April 2017

 

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, said he will send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts $710.4 million in local sales tax allocations in June 2018 – 11 percent more than in June 2017.

 

The local sales tax data is among the latest economic barometers featured in a detailed summary provided by the state comptroller’s office.

 

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

 

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:

 

April 2018 compared with April 2017

 

• McAllen: $4,513,525.47, up 0.46 percent compared with April 2017 ($4,492,773.38);

• Brownsville: $2,777,202.41, down 1.95 percent compared with April 2017 ($2,832,557.13);

• Harlingen:$2,009,433.18, up 12.64 percent compared with April 2017 ($1,783,854.21);

• Edinburg: $1,770,866.34, up 9.84 percent compared with April 2017 ($1,612,167.24);

• Pharr: $1,573,320.59, up 13.65 percent compared with April 2017 ($1,384,311.59);

• Mission: $1,165,252.84, down 0.38 percent compared with April 2017 ($1,169,756.78); and

• Weslaco: $982,427.88, up 1.83 percent compared with April 2017 ($964,731.88).

 

November 2017 through April 2018, compared with November 2016 through April 2017

 

Under the reporting system maintained online by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, for all public entities which generate local sales taxes, year-to-date totals begin in November of each year.

 

From November 2017 through April 2018, based on the amount of sales taxes generated, compared with November 2016 through April 2017, the Valley’s major cities ranked accordingly in the following local sales tax figures:

 

• McAllen: $31,436,246.53, from November 2017 through April 2018, up 5.27 percent compared with November 2016 through April 2017 ($29,861,760.83);

 

• Brownsville: $19,326,027.96, up 5.33 percent from November 2017 through April 2018, compared with November 2016 through April 2017 ($18,347,109.56);

 

• Harlingen: $13,015,738.49, from November 2017 through April 2018, up 9.14 percent compared with November 2016 through April 2017 ($11,924,770.64);

 

• Edinburg: $11,200,365.04, from November 2017 through April 2018, up 6.96 percent compared with November 2016 through April 2017 ($10,470,649.34);

 

• Pharr: $9,222,105.98, from November 2017 through April 2018, up 8.74 percent compared with November 2016 through April 2017 ($8,480,487.63);

 

• Mission: $7,694,092.58, from November 2017 through April 2018, up 2.27 percent compared with November 2016 through April 2017 ($7,523,291.03); and

 

• Weslaco: $6,375,452.20, from November 2017 through April 2018, up 3.22 percent compared with November 2016 through April 2017 ($6,176,245.42).

 

For details on local sales taxes generated in April 2018 by individual cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose districts, visit the Comptroller's Monthly Sales Tax Allocation Comparison Summary Reports.

 

SEVEN UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS RIO GRANDE VALLEY STUDENTS AWARDED CHARLES BUTT SCHOLARSHIP FOR ASPIRING TEACHERS

 

Seven University of Texas Rio Grande Valley students were among the first 100 Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers recipients under the Raise Your Hand Foundation, campus officials announced on Monday, June 4, 2018.

 

The inaugural cohort was chosen from a pool of 350 candidates by means of a competitive selection process, which included a written application, interviews, group activities and demonstration of a teaching lesson. The students chosen attend, or are planning to attend, one of 10 partner universities in Texas.

 

Each student receives an $8,000 scholarship each year for up to four years, as well as ongoing training, mentorship and networking opportunities facilitated by the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation.

The seven UTRGV students are:

 

• Jimena Gamboa of La Feria.

• Clarissa Guerra of Edinburg.

• Raquel Pérez of Edinburg.

• Brenda Olvera of Brownsville.

• Cristina Ortiz of Laredo.

• Clarissa Rodríguez of Weslaco.

• Kasandra Salinas of La Feria.

 

During their final two semesters, the seven UTRGV students are to enroll in the UTRGV Student Teacher Educator Preparation University Partnership (STEP UP), the program selected by the Raise Your Hand Foundation as a partner for its Raising Texas Teachers Initiative.

 

Under the STEP UP program, students will be working with a partnering school district, including Harlingen CISD, McAllen ISD and Los Fresnos CISD.

 

Dr. Criselda García, UTRGV Associate Dean for Initial Preparation Programs and Academic Affairs in College of Education and P-16 Integration, said the clinically rich program gives students an opportunity to work for a school district and gain personal experience.

 

“The last year, while they’re getting ready to graduate, we immerse them in the fall and spring semesters,” she said. “In the fall, they’re at the school for one day out of the week. They get to know the mentor teachers, other school personnel, but more importantly the students.

 

“Then in the spring, they complete their clinical teaching with the same mentor teacher and the same children. The whole idea is that they start to understand how to work within that school culture,” García said.

 

“I Have What It Takes to Be A Teacher”

 

The general consensus among the UTRGV scholarship winners is that the application process is demanding and not something done overnight, but that the end result is worth the hard work.

 

Clarissa Guerra, a junior and Early Childhood Education major, said she didn’t think she was capable of getting a scholarship, but as she looked at her accomplishments, she realized she had what it took.

 

“Winning the scholarship means a lot,” she said. “Not only will I always be remembered as a Charles Butt Scholar, but I know there will be plenty of opportunities available for me along the way.”

 

Kasandra Salinas, who graduated from La Feria High School this year and is attending UTRGV this summer, said her career goal is to teach biology in middle school or high school. Her drive to be a teacher has always existed because she has seen the impact teachers can make.

 

She applied for the Charles Butt Scholarship while she was still in high school and knew she would be competing against college students, so she was thrilled when she heard she won.

 

“Winning means I have what it takes to be a teacher, to inspire other kids around me,” she said.

Similarly for early childhood education junior Clarissa Rodríguez, winning the scholarship means not only financial support, but also a confidence boost.

 

“Growing up, my parents didn’t have the opportunity to achieve or obtain a college education,” she said. “This scholarship means I have support from people who believe in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I have people who will help give me the tools to obtain my diploma.”

 

Jimena Gamboa, a junior bilingual education major, said winning the scholarship made her feel proud, accomplished and honored.

 

“I was surprised because it was a very rigorous process,” she said. “I was really excited, hoping the whole time I would get it. And when I did, I was a bit shocked.”

 

For more information about the STEP UP program, contact Dr. Criselda García in the College of Education and P-16 Integration at (956) 665 – 3627 or criselda.garcia@utrgv.edu.

 

About the Charles Butt Scholarship

 

The Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers – one component of the Raising Texas Teachers initiative – is designed to encourage accomplished students to consider a future in teaching. The scholarship consists of $8,000 in annual funding for up to four years, as well as ongoing training and development opportunities, mentorship from sitting public school educators, and participation in a statewide aspiring teachers’ network facilitated by the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation.

 

About 100 scholarships will be awarded through teacher preparation programs at 10 partnering universities each year, with the cohort growing to include 500 scholars annually. The competitive selection process includes an application, pre-screening by university teams, and a daylong event consisting of a group activity, mock teaching lesson, and panel interview.

 

About UTRGV

 

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

 

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.

 

••••••

 

Amanda L. Alaniz contributed to this article. For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com.