Local sales tax collections showed sluggish growth in 2016 compared to 2015, increasing 2.3 percent last year, according to New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
"Sales tax collections are a crucial, yet unstable source of revenue for local governments," said DiNapoli. "The impact of little to no growth is felt in several regions across the state, especially in counties and municipalities that may already be struggling financially. As the year progresses, local officials will need to closely monitor their budgets should these collections slip."
DiNapoli's report noted total local collections increased only 0.7 percent due to a $238 million correction in the fourth quarter of 2015, which distorted New York City's year-to-year growth calculations. After adjusting for the 2015 correction, however, collections actually increased 2.3 percent statewide and the city's grew 2.9 percent.
Additional findings in DiNapoli’s report include:
- Regionally, the strongest sales tax growth in 2016 was in the Mid-Hudson Valley with a 2.9 percent increase and Long Island with a 1.9 percent increase;
- Sales tax collections grew by more than 4 percent in six counties in 2016 – Chautauqua, Delaware, Jefferson, Putnam, Sullivan and Yates;
- Central New York was the only region in the state to suffer a decline in collections, while growth in the Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier and Western New York was below one percent;
- Eight counties experienced a decline in collections of more than 2 percent in 2016 – Cattaraugus, Chemung, Cortland, Genesee, Hamilton, Herkimer, St. Lawrence and Washington;
- Eleven cities that impose their own general sales tax had an increase in collections. The strongest increase was for the city of Yonkers at 16.6 percent; and
- Seven cities experienced declines in sales tax collections.
For access to state and local government spending and more than 50,000 state contracts, visit www.openbooknewyork.com. The easy-to-use website was created by DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.