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August 31, 2009


DiNapoli: Local Sales Tax Revenues Drop By 9 Percent
So Far This Year

September Back-to-School Shopping A Key Revenue Period
Audio Availablespeaker

Local sales tax revenues across New York State, including New York City, were down 8.9 percent, or $640 million, for the first seven months of 2009 compared with same period last year, according to an analysis released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“It’s not surprising that local sales tax revenues are down so significantly,” DiNapoli said. “Back-to-school shopping makes September a very important month for sales tax revenues. Local governments need to take a hard look at the September data. Just like the state, if local governments are not on track to meet their budgeted revenues for the year, they need to make adjustments in their spending now without placing a greater burden on local taxpayers.”

While every region of the state experienced declining local sales tax revenues, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley declined the most at 10.1 percent each. New York City saw a decline in sales tax revenues of 10 percent, or $285 million. The Mohawk Valley saw the least decline at 3.2 percent during the first seven months of 2009.

Counties experienced a 7.6-percent decline from January to July of this year over the same seven months last year. If this trend continues for the remainder of the year, counties may see their first annual decline in sales tax revenues in 18 years. Back-to-school shopping makes September the most important sales tax collection period outside of the holiday shopping season, making it a key month for local governments to watch.

Six counties had sales tax revenues decline by double digits: Putnam, Delaware, Westchester, Monroe, Suffolk and Saratoga. The only counties to experience sales tax revenue growth were Seneca, Schuyler, Tioga and Genesee. These increases were mostly due to payment timing issues, although about one-third of Seneca County’s 13.1-percent growth was due to new retail development.

Click here to view DiNapoli’s analysis.

Click here to download audio from Comptroller DiNapoli on this topic.


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