Orleans sales tax revenue is sluggish so far in 2013

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 August 2013 at 12:00 am

ALBION – Sales tax revenue for the first half of 2013 grew 5.7 percent state-wide, but the number is down in Orleans County, according to State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Sales tax gives a sense of the strength of the economy within a community, and the tax also is used to help pay for government services.

In Orleans, sales tax collections totaled $7,354,995 for the first six months of 2013, compared to $7,446,284 for the first half of 2012, a decrease of 1.2 percent, the comptroller reported.

New York is seeing strong growth in New York City, which grew by 7.5 percent. Long Island’s revenue is up 8.5 percent. The comptroller attributed some of the increases to cleanup and rebuilding efforts following Superstorm Sandy.

Upstate sales tax growth, meanwhile, was considerably slower. The Mid-Hudson Valley (4.4 percent) and Western New York (3 percent) outpaced the growth in Central New York (2.3 percent), the Capital District (1.2 percent) and the North Country (1.1 percent).

New York’s Southern Tier saw its sales tax revenue drop 3.3 percent. The counties of Chemung (-6.4 percent), Tioga (-5.4 percent) and Broome (-5.1 percent) saw the most significant declines.

“The growth in sales tax revenue is a promising sign for many communities,” DiNapoli said in a news release. “Unfortunately, the economic improvement has been uneven and the trends are headed in the wrong direction for some of our most vulnerable municipalities. Sales tax collections are a vital source of revenue for local governments. Without positive growth during the second half of the year, many local budgets will be under increased pressure.”

Orleans is coming off a year when sales tax grew 1.3 percent in 2012, increasing about $200,000 to $14.9 million for the full year.