ALBANY — Local sales tax collections in New York increased by 14.1 % in October over the same time frame last year, according to a new report from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
Sales tax collections thrived locally in October, with Montgomery County collecting $3.1 million in revenues, up 10.2 % over the $2.8 million the county took in during October 2021.
Tax revenues increased 7.1 % in Fulton County in October and 8.3 % in Schenectady County, with the county collecting $9.4 million in October.
Collections totaled $12.7 million in Saratoga County in October, a 7.8 % increase over 2021.
Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort credited the rise in sales tax in the county in large part to rising gas prices.
“I think the general consensus amongst our team is that there are two big driving factors at this point — one is, as it always is in Montgomery County, is the price of fuel,” he said. “Given that we straddle the Thruway, we always see a pretty strong relationship with the price of fuel. If it’s up, then sales tax is up and if it’s down we’re usually seeing a dip in the sales tax. I think beyond that, you’re also seeing inflation being a driver.”
Tom O’Connor of the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce said that the rising October sales tax collections bode well for the upcoming holiday shopping season.
“On the retail side, these are the biggest months, particularly for the brick and mortar [shops],” he said. “They rely on that foot traffic and consumers from the region purchasing locally. When you see the increase in sales tax revenue, that could point to consumers wanting to spend locally during the holiday season.”
Montgomery County Chairman of the Legislature Michael Pepe noted that the county collected $41 million in sales tax in 2021, with the county on pace to collect approximately $45 million in 2022 if the final two months of the year are on par with 2021 levels.
“We’re pacing well versus last year,” Pepe said on Wednesday. “We had just implemented an internet sales tax in the last month or two of 2019, so obviously we were able to capitalize on the internet purchasing explosion during the pandemic and now obviously all of the spending that happened once people were released from quarantine and into a society that was functioning the way it was before the pandemic.”
The county did not not offer a gas tax holiday this year, which Schenectady County did opt into.
“For the last couple of months, we were starting to believe that we might see a dip and a leveling off,” Ossenfort said. “In reviewing our numbers [Tuesday] at our Finance Committee meeting, the last two payments we received were up again. So perhaps the leveling off is not happening. I think we’re all hopeful to see a strong economy as we head into the holiday season.”
The comptroller’s report noted that local sales tax collections totaled $1.75 billion in October, up $217 million compared to the same time last year.
“October’s sales tax collections saw the strongest monthly year-over-year growth since May, despite the participation of many counties in the gas tax holiday,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “However, as inflation continues to increase costs for many municipalities, it is important that local officials recognize that changing economic conditions may impede future collections.”