NYSAC Release: 4th quarter sales taxes continue slow growth
The 4th quarter 2016 sales tax revenue data released today shows continues the trend of slower sales tax growth compared to the years leading up to the Great Recession, according to the New York State Association of Counties.
“It is difficult at this time to precisely explain the slower growth in many counties. While Internet sales continue to outpace brick and mortar storefront sales, gasoline prices were about 12 percent lower in 2016 compared to 2015. Meanwhile, stagnant wage growth and higher costs of health care and housing could be placing downward pressure on retail sales, and therefore sales tax collections,” said NYSAC President William E. Cherry, Schoharie County Treasurer.
When comparing sales tax collections in the 4th Quarter 2016 to the 4th Quarter of 2015:
- 20 counties had negative receipts,
- the percent increase for all counties was +1.9%, and
- the average change per county was +1.2%.
When comparing sales tax collections for the full year of 2016 to the full year of 2015:
- 18 counties had negative receipts,
- the percent increase for all counties was +1.4%, and
- the average change per county was 1.1%.
These trends well documented in a recent report by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who noted: “local sales tax revenue growth fell from 3.6 percent to 1.8 percent in the first nine months of 2016 from the same period a year earlier. While revenue collections varied by region, counties are particularly reliant on sales tax revenues.”
Counties use sales and property tax revenue to provide road and bridge maintenance, 9-1-1 emergency dispatch services, sheriff road patrol, restaurant inspections, veterans services, worker training, addiction prevention counseling, and senior programs such as meals on wheels. In addition, counties are required by the State fund $7.5 billion of the state's Medicaid program. Other mandated responsibilities include safety net, pre-school special education, early intervention, public defense, probation, youth detention, child welfare, and pensions. In total, these nine state mandates consume 99% of the aggregate county property taxes collected statewide. All other county programs are funded through sales tax revenues.