|The County Perspective
Local Governments Unite to Fight Opioid Abuse
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, a member of a national task force on the heroin & opioid abuse crisis, is traveling to regions across the state to hold informative session on the joint task force findings. The meetings are being coordinated by NYSAC and will be hosted by local county leaders. A forum was held last week in Dutchess County, and today there is a forum in Suffolk County.
As a member of the national task force put together by the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National League of Cities (NLC), Poloncarz has taken a leadership role in battling the opioid crisis here in New York.
The local meetings are focused on strategies and programs that local leaders can implement to help prevent individuals from becoming dependent on prescription painkillers and heroin. As the large number of drug-related deaths across the U.S. brings increasing attention to efforts that aim to prevent these deaths, local leaders must not lose sight of the importance of preventing individuals from becoming drug dependent in the first place. During the meetings, local leaders will discuss prevention and education strategies that can stem the tide of drug abuse in local communities.
Unlock the Power of Learning at the NYSAC Legislative Conference
Registration is open for the NYSAC 2017 Legislative Conference, which will be held January 30, 31 and February 1, 2017 at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Albany.
County officials are invited to attend a series of informative and timely workshops, standing committee meetings, conference-wide presentations, and networking opportunities.
To register and for more information, visit our website at www.nysac.org/legislativeconference.
4th Quarter Sales Taxes Continue Slower Trend
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.
When comparing sales tax collections in the 4th Quarter 2016 to the 4th Quarter of 2015:
When comparing sales tax collections for the full year of 2016 to the full year 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%.
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."
- 18 counties had negative receipts,
- the percent increase for all counties was +1.4%, and
- the average change per county was 1.1%.
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.