Orleans sees drop in sales tax in 2015

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 January 2016 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Main Street is pictured in downtown Albion in October 2015.

One measure of the local economy – sales tax revenue – showed Orleans County and much of Upstate New York lagged in 2015 compared to 2014.

The sales tax collections in Orleans dipped 1.5 percent or down $233,412, from $15,703,362 in 2014 to $15,469,950 last year, according to the state Department of Taxation and Finance.

Not only does that show a decline in the local economy, but it means less money for the county government for services and to ease pressure on property taxes. (The county has budgeted a $250,000 increase in 2016 from the 2015 budgeted amount.)

Other smaller nearby counties also saw a decline. Genesee County was down 0.12 percent or by $47,206. Its sales tax receipts dropped from $37,994,929 to $37,947,723.

Wyoming County, which has nearly the same population as Orleans, declined 1.56 percent, from $16,853,447 to $16,591,138, a decrease of $262,309.

There are 62 counties in the state and 30 experienced negative growth in sales tax receipts in 2015, according to the New York State Association of Counties.

“According to NYSAC’s analysis, it is not clear whether these lower receipts are related to a lackluster economic growth, lower motor fuel and energy prices, minimal wage growth, household deleveraging (debt reduction vs. spending) or some combination of factors,” NYSAC said in a news release.

Overall, the counties combined saw sales tax increase 0.7 percent from $7.369 billion to $7.418 billion.

While upstate sales tax numbers were sluggish, New York City saw big growth, 7.3 percent, from $6.653 billion to $7.140 billion. State-wide, total sales tax was up 3.0 percent from $27.536 billion to $28.366 billion.