Capital Region

Gas tax holiday begins to bite into municipal revenue, comptroller reports

A man fills up his truck at Alltown in Schenectady.

A man fills up his truck at Alltown in Schenectady.

ALBANY — Sales tax paid by New Yorkers grew sharply in the first five months of the year amid strong inflation but slowed down last month.

The state Comptroller’s Office reported Wednesday that sales tax collections were down more than 20 or even 30% in many upstate counties in June, as the gas tax holiday kicked in.

However, sizable year-over-year increases in the first five months of 2022 left most counties with a net gain of sales tax collections for the second quarter and the second half.

“Local sales tax collections continue to show positive results, but the lower growth in June bears watching,” state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement accompanying the release of data Wednesday. “The slowdown reflects, in part, the temporary reduction in local sales taxes on gasoline in 24 counties, along with a possible return to more typical growth rates after the dips and rebounds caused by the COVID pandemic.”

Every region of the state except New York City collected less sales tax in June 2022 than in June 2021. And New York City had a relatively weak June 2021, so the 52% increase in June 2022 isn’t as impressive as it might appear on its face.

For the first six months of 2022, the eight counties and two cities in the Capital Region that levy a sales tax collected $475 million, 10% more than the first half of 2021. But June 2022 was down 10% from June 2021.

The six counties and four cities of the Mohawk Valley region collected $174 million in sales tax in the first six months of 2022, 5.7% more than last year. But June 2022 was down 26% from June 2021.

The report noted a few other factors contributing upward and downward pressure on sales tax collections: The inflation rate hit 8.6% in the second quarter of 2022 but retail sales grew only 8.1%. There was also solid growth in wages and increased employment.

The following list shows area sales tax collections for January-June 2022 and for June 2022 alone, with the percentage change from the same periods in 2021:

Albany County: $172.4M (14.7%) | $37.4M (4.9%)

Fulton County: $13.7M (5.2%) | $2.5M (-28.6%)

Gloversville: $2.2M (-1.9%) | $0.3M (-39.3%)

Johnstown: $2.6M (15.3%) | $0.5M (-9.8%)

Montgomery County: $21.9M (9.2%) | $4.7M (-16.0%)

Rensselaer County: $57.7M (9.3%) | $10.7M (-12.4%)

Saratoga County: $77.8M (6.9%) | $13.7M (-21.5%)

Saratoga Springs: $7.2M (12.9%) | $1.6M (-2.3%)

Schenectady County: $62.9M (5.3%) | $11.4M (2.4%)

Schoharie County: $10.2M (8.6%) | $2.0M (-22.8%)

Categories: Business, News

Dean Gulberry July 28, 2022
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Hey, John. Word of advice – read the report before you write about it. Because if you did, you would know not to talk about county (and city) sales tax collections on a monthly basis. You would have read that Tax and Finance’s monthly distributions to counties are based on estimates and not actual sales activity, and that distributions made in the last month of the calendar year quarter (i.e., June) are also adjusted based on what vendors reported for the previous months. So, for instance, if the estimates that a county received in April and May were more than what was actual reported by vendors, its collections for June would be adjusted downward. That is why a county might see year-over-year declines for June, why OSC chooses not to discuss county collections on a monthly basis, but rather quarterly basis, and why monthly collections by taxing jurisdiction are relegated to the appendix. This isn’t simple stuff, for sure, but it is a lot easier to understand when one reads the report. Good day.

FJ COLACINO July 28, 2022
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I wonder if Paul Pelosi, the speaker’s husband has any ideas on making up the shortfall?  Apparently he’s really adept at going zig when the market goes zag!