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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Press Releases

July 24, 2015, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

DiNapoli: Sales Tax Collections Growth Slowed in First Half of 2015

Lack of Growth Could Mean Fiscal Challenges

Local sales tax collection growth across New York State slowed to 1.6 percent in the first six months of 2015 from 3 percent growth in 2014 and was considerably lower than the 4.2 percent average annual growth over the past 15 years, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

County sales tax collections, excluding all cities, increased only 0.5 percent for the first six months of 2015, with many counties seeing a decline in their collections.

“There has been a general downward trend in sales tax collection growth over the last several years and that is continuing in 2015,” DiNapoli said. “The slow growth in sales taxes could pose fiscal challenges for local governments across New York, especially for counties who rely heavily on sales tax collections to pay their bills.”

New York City’s sales tax collections grew by $91 million, or 2.7 percent in the first half of 2015, accounting for a substantial part of local sales tax growth statewide. Still, the city’s growth rate fell from a 4.8 percent growth rate for the same period in 2014.

The Capital District had the second strongest sales tax growth in the first half of the year at 2 percent. Western New York was next with 1.5 percent growth.

In contrast, sales tax revenue declined in five of the 10 economic regions of the state, with the sharpest decline being in the North Country, which saw a 2.5 percent drop. Also declining were the Southern Tier (1.2 percent), the Mohawk Valley (1.0 percent), the Finger Lakes (0.4 percent) and the Mid-Hudson region (0.4 percent).

Sales tax collections declined in 33 of the 57 counties outside of New York City from the same period in 2014. The largest decline was in Schoharie County, with a 6.1 percent drop. Allegany, Delaware, Lewis and Montgomery counties also had declines of more than 5 percent. In some cases, these declines were due to technical adjustments, which can have a large impact in counties with relatively small populations and retail sectors.

Of the 24 counties that saw sales collections rise, the strongest growth was 8.8 percent in Steuben County. Ulster County had an increase of 8.4 percent, which was due in part to a rate change.  Hamilton and Washington counties also saw growth rates of more than 6 percent. Technical adjustments can explain some of these increases.

See the report here, or go to: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/research/snapshot/localsalestaxcollection0715.pdf

See the County-by-City Table here, or go to: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/research/snapshot/localsalestaxcollectiontable0715.pdf

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