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Comptroller: NY sales tax collections up five percent

Created: 02/27/2014 12:01 PM WHEC.com

Local sales tax collections statewide were boosted last year in part by spending after Superstorm Sandy and rose $739 million, or 5.2 percent, exceeding the previous year's increase, the New York comptroller reported Thursday.

In the annual report, state tax data from all 62 counties showed New York City was responsible for much of the gain, with sales taxes up $406 million, or 6.8 percent.

That's partly due to rebuilding after Sandy, though collections from retail sales have rebounded significantly in the city since the recession, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said. They're up almost 38 percent since 2009.

"This is welcome news for our municipalities and comes at a time when local revenues have been experiencing little to no growth," DiNapoli said. "The majority of the increase appears to stem from storm cleanup, which gives these communities a short-term boost."

Overall, including the state's 57 other counties, sales taxes have risen 25.4 percent since 2009 to $14.9 billion last year.

Collections on Long Island rose 6.9 percent in 2013 compared with the year before, while falling 2.3 percent in the Southern Tier.

"As the economy continues its tenuous recovery, sales tax collections could vary either way for local governments," DiNapoli said. They can be a volatile source of government revenue, he said.

In 2009, at the height of the recession, local sales tax collections declined by 6 percent statewide, according to the comptroller's office.

Thursday's report showed Essex County in the Adirondacks with the highest growth rate at 8.8 percent, then nearby Hamilton County at 8.2 percent.

Downstate communities with significant increases attributed in part to rebuilding efforts after Sandy's flooding and other damage included Rockland County's 8.1 percent and Westchester County's 6.2 percent.



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