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Orleans sees sales tax revenue fall for second straight year

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 February 2017 at 4:21 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: A business on Main Street in Albion has an “Open” flag, encouraging people to stop in.

Sales tax revenue in Orleans County dropped for the second straight year in 2016, according to the State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

Sales tax collections were down 1.2 percent or $182,421 in 2016, a drop from $15,469,950 in 2015 to $15,287,529.

That decline followed a drop of 1.5 percent or $233,412, from $15,703,362 in 2014 to $15,469,950 in 2015.

The sales tax is a key source of revenue for the county government. It also is a measure of the local economy.

“Sales tax collections are a crucial, yet unstable source of revenue for local governments,” DiNapoli said in a report. “The impact of little to no growth is felt in several regions across the state, especially in counties and municipalities that may already be struggling financially. As the year progresses, local officials will need to closely monitor their budgets should these collections slip.”

Other counties in Western New York saw decreases including Niagara County, down 0.9 percent; Cattaraugus, down 3.9 percent; Erie, down 0.2 percent; Genesee, a drop of 2.4 percent; and Livingston, down 0.8 percent.

Most counties experienced growth in sales tax. The comptroller’s report showed 39 out of 57 counties had gains.

DiNapoli’s report showed the strongest sales tax growth in 2016 was in the Mid-Hudson Valley with a 2.9 percent increase and Long Island with a 1.9 percent increase.

Central New York was the only region in the state to suffer a decline in collections, while growth in the Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier and Western New York was below one percent, according to the comptroller.

Orleans Hub wrote an editorial on Oct. 31, 2016 with ideas about growing the sales tax. Click here to see “Editorial: To lower taxes and strengthen economy in Orleans, local officials should grow sales tax.”

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