SCHENECTADY — Schenectady County’s sales tax collections soared in 2017, cracking $100 million for the year and ranking it among the top-performing counties in the state.
The state Department of Taxation and Finance gathered the full-year totals recently and the Office of the State Comptroller analyzed them. There was significant growth statewide: Local sales tax collections totaled $16.6 billion statewide in calendar year 2017, a 3.9 percent increase from 2016 and the largest year-over-year increase since 2013.
Schenectady County’s 2017 growth was sixth-highest in the state, after Madison, Oswego, Cayuga, Wyoming and Seneca counties.
The Comptroller’s Office said Madison and Oswego counties had technical adjustments that nudged their totals higher and boosted their percentages higher.
Schenectady County had a similar adjustment, spokesman Joe McQueen said, but also had steady growth. He credited part of that growth to new businesses and the new Mohawk Harbor development, which includes Rivers Casino & Resort.
“All of that, we think, is continuing our positive sales tax activity,” he said.
Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort said his county’s sales tax boost could be attributable to heavier holiday spending and fuel sales — it straddles a long stretch of the Thruway, and a lot of gasoline and diesel fuel is sold there.
“I met with our treasurer on this topic last week. It’s certainly good news for county government,” he said, if it’s more than a one-time jump.
Statewide, the growth accelerated toward the end of the year: the fourth quarter of 2017 saw nearly twice as much growth in sales tax revenue as the previous three quarters.
The Comptroller's Office said 2.1 percent inflation in 2017 after minimal growth in the Consumer Price Index from 2013 to 2016 accounted for some of the sales tax increase. Gasoline and other fuels contributed significantly to the recent inflation, the office said.
Meanwhile, consumer confidence grew in 2017; unemployment in New York state averaged 4.6 percent, an 11-year low; and wages grew modestly.
SALES TAX REVENUE
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Source: The Office of the State Comptroller