Sales tax revenue sees big second quarter jump in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 August 2021 at 11:52 am

So far, sales tax collections up $2 million in county in first half of the year

Photos by Tom Rivers: An apple-themed bike rack is shown on Main Street in Medina last week. A report from the State Comptroller’s Office shows a big increase in sales tax revenue locally and state-wide.

Orleans County’s sales tax revenue is up 33.5 percent or by $1.4 million for the second quarter of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020 when many businesses were on “pause” with in-person customers either not allowed or limited due to restrictions from the state in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many of those restrictions were eased or lifted in the second quarter of 2021 and the sales tax revenue was up significantly.

Statewide the sales tax was up by 49.2% in the second quarter, surpassing the amount during the same period in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said in a report.

Second quarter sales tax revenue in GLOW counties

  • Genesee: $13.2 million ($9.1 million in 2020), up 44.8 percent
  • Livingston: $11.3 million (7.8 million in 2020), up 44.9 percent
  • Orleans: $5.8 million ($4.4 million in 2020), up 33.5 percent
  • Wyoming: $6.2 million ($4.3 million in 2020), up 44.5 percent

Among the nine counties in the Finger Lakes region, the 33.5 percent increase in Orleans is the second lowest. Only Wayne at 32.1 percent is lower. Seneca has the biggest increase at 58.7 percent, followed by Ontario County at 55.2 percent.

For the first half of the year, the sales tax revenue in Orleans County is up by $2 million or 22.1 percent, from $8.8 million the first six months of 2020 to $10.8 million the first half of 2021.

Among the other GLOW counties, Genesee is up 25.0 percent from $18.9 million to $23.7 million. Livingston increased 25.4 percent, from $16.2 million to $20.2 million, and Wyoming is up 25.4 percent, from $8.8 million to $11.0 million.

“The strength of these collections, along with federal aid, will give local governments statewide the chance to improve their fiscal stability, but it will take time to recover from the strain caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” DiNapoli said in a statement about the sales tax report. “While this is good news, local leaders are advised to budget carefully. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to always plan for unpredictable circumstances.”

The size of the increase largely reflects extremely weak collections in the April to June period of 2020, DiNapoli said.

However, even compared to pre-pandemic collections for the same period in 2019, statewide collections in 2021 were up 8.7% or $396 million. Every region outside of New York City experienced two-year growth over 18 percent. New York City’s collections grew by 44.6 percent in the second quarter of 2021for its first increase after four quarters of year-over-year declines. NYC has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, DiNapoli said.

He said an easing of Covid restrictions, pent-up demand and more internet sales tax collections are all factors in the state-wide sales tax growth.

Downtown Medina is a shopping hotspot in Orleans County.