NY Counties Struggle with Sputtering Revenue Streams

New York State has released the most recent sales tax data, and for the most part there is little change to report.

The total collections for counties (outside of New York City) are basically flat for the first six months of 2014. Excluding the four counties that increased their sales tax rate, the average percentage change in each county was .01 percent.

In the 2nd quarter, 10 counties had negative growth. In the 1st quart of 2014 and the last quarter of 2013, 27 counties had negative growth; the latest numbers show some improvement.

According to the data, New York City is up 5 percent in total dollars for the first six months of 2014.

The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) reports that counties continue to struggle as this important revenue stream sputters.

6 counties (10% of all counties) have had negative growth year over year in all 3 quarters,
15 counties (26%) have had negative growth in 2 out of the last 3 quarters, and
16 counties (28%) have had negative growth in 1 out of the last 3 quarters
Overall 37 counties (65%) have experienced negative sales tax growth in 1 of the last 3 quarters
The uneven growth reveals significant pockets of weakness across the state – only 35 percent of counties have seen positive growth in each of the last three quarters.

“Sales tax revenue is crucial to counties, as it is one of only a handful of revenue sources available,” said NYSAC President Mark Alger. “The state must make an ongoing commitment to targeted Mandate Relief in health and human programs and relieve the burden on local taxpayers.”

NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario said, “Sales tax collection data provides a key indicator of our state and local economy. Clearly we are still in recovery mode, and while the numbers show improvement we have a long way to go. There is a need for continued focus on economic development, at both the local and state level.”


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