COVID-19 targets sales tax revenues

Closed campuses, dark dinning halls and cuts to capacity have taken their toll on sales tax revenues, as counties wait for those checks to arrive, from the state.

Posted: Oct 8, 2020 6:15 PM
Updated: Oct 9, 2020 9:44 AM

Closed campuses, dark dinning halls and cuts to capacity have taken their toll on sales tax revenues, as counties wait for those checks to arrive, from the state.

"We'll get another payment tomorrow. That'll really tell us where we are," says Oneida County Executive, Anthony Picente, Jr. "We saw about a 30% increase from previous payments but still behind several percentages and few million dollars because of where we are in collections, so it's really just a waiting game and just seeing how the economy will rebound and whether it does stay strong."

In Otsego County, September is usually a great month for sales tax revenue, as college students flood campues. Not this year.

"We were down 19.1% for our first draw, September, compared to September of '19, correct. We're down 8.4% for the year," said Chairman of the Otsego County Board of Representatives, David Bliss.

In Herkimer County, March's sales tax revenue payment from the state was down 36.3% from March of 2019. But October's check was up 21.6% from October of 2019. The county administrator says rebounding car sales are helping.

Recovery could be scary. Sales tax revenue is Oneida County's largest source of revenue; $106 million worth of the general fund, last year. County leaders say they are committed to avoiding steep tax hikes and layoffs, but Picente acknowledges-layoffs can't be completely ruled out, either. In the meantime, they exhaust all other options.

"We did an early retirement. We've got 74 people that are going out and have already left as of Sept. 30," said Picente.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2108950

Reported Deaths: 53539
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