Saturday, April 16, 2016

NYS Sales Tax Continues To Show A Volatile Recovery

In its ongoing tracking of retail activity and sales tax revenues across the state, the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) continues to find a volatile recovery from the economic recession that began nearly 8 years ago.  
"In the aggregate, total 1st quarter sales tax receipts for counties are up by 2.25% and the average change per county was nearly the same, but 20 counties collected less than they did on the same quarter of 2015," said NYSAC President William E. Cherry, the Schoharie County Treasurer. "It is further evidence of the uneven economic recovery that regions of the state are facing as we work to balance local budgets and retain and attract new businesses and jobs."
To put this into perspective, the first quarter of 2015 was particularly bad for counties in regard to local sales tax receipts, with 33 counties collecting less sales tax in 2015 than they did in 2014 in the first quarter.  Of the 20 counties that had negative receipts in the first quarter of 2016 compared to 2015, 11 of them also experienced negative sales tax receipts in the first quarter of 2015 compared to 2014.  These 11 counties were clustered along the
Canadian border, Southern Tier and Schoharie Valley for the most part.
On the national level, reports indicate a slowdown in the retail sector, with durable goods and car sales showing signs of stagnation. This combined with consumers saving a bit more of their income and reducing debt (vs. spending it) has resulted in a mixed bag for counties in regard to 1st quarter sales tax receipts compared to last year.
"Counties are also seeing continued decline in local sales tax receipts due lower motor fuel prices in the first quarter of this year compared to last year, which can be a mixed blessing for local governments, who are spending less on fuel but also seeing declines in anticipated revenues," said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario.
New York City continues to be the bright spot for the state's economic recovery. First quarter sales tax revenue are up just under 3 percent over last year.