Reporting Joel Thomas
ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – In an era of usually bad economic news, Arlington’s story is surprisingly upbeat. The city’s sales tax revenues were up nearly five percent from last year setting a new record for revenue. Some business owners say the city is evolving as a destination for consumers.
“It is a family amusement area but there’s more to it now,” said Jennifer Riddle, owner of Gypsy Riddles in downtown Arlington.
Riddle’s boutique is one sign of Arlington’s flourishing economy. Between large shopping areas in the north and south of town, downtown and UT Arlington have grown in the past few years.
“We’re the benchmark,” Riddle said. “We’re the people taking it to a new level throwing things into Arlington people have never seen before.”
“Its been an exceptional year for Arlington,” said Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck. “We, for the first time went through 50-million dollars in sales tax. We’ve never been here before. Its a combination of heavy retail, sports teams, everything you buy at the ballpark is taxed. Its just been an outstanding year.”
The Rangers set a new season attendance record. And Cowboys Stadium stays busy year ’round with events and tours. But there’s more cooking in Arlington’s economy than just the stadiums. Retail in south Arlington continues to expand thanks to population growth in the area. And GM is adding 1,200 new jobs and expanding its plant. The sales tax growth has been steady since 2003.
And in the long run that means tax payers who live in Arlington are saving money.
“When a city gets into a condition where they cannot get out of the slump they’re in, they can’t pay their bills, can’t pay employees, they have to raise taxes,” Cluck said. “That’s the only revenue source. We haven’t raised taxes here in 9 years and I don’t think we’ll have to anytime soon.”