Sales-tax revenue in New York increased 5.2 percent in 2013 compared to 2012, fueled by purchases downstate after Superstorm Sandy hit in late 2012.
But there was a different picture upstate. Sales-tax revenue had soared in 2012 after tropical storms Lee and Irene hit the Southern Tier.
Now the revenue has fallen off, particularly in the fourth quarter. Nearly half of counties had negative sales tax growth in the final quarter of 2013, and 14 had negative growth over past year.
“The fourth quarter sales tax collection, which includes holiday shopping, is a key indicator of our state and local economy,” said Stephen Acquario, executive director of the state Association of Counties.
“These numbers concern us. The uneven collections demonstrate the need for continued focus on economic development statewide.”
Sales-tax revenue is critical for counties. It’s their top revenue source. Most counties charge 4 percent sales tax on goods and services, and the state also charges 4 percent.
Sales-tax revenue fell significantly in the Southern Tier between 2012 and 2013. It fell 5 percent in Tioga County; 4.6 percent in Broome County; and 4.2 percent in Chemung County.
Growth was limited in some other counties between 2012 and 2013. Sales-tax revenue was up 2.6 percent in Tompkins County; 1.8 percent in Monroe County and 0.85 percent in Dutchess County.