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Sales tax revenue rises to little applause

Jan 28, 2011 10:34 am
Greene County Treasurer Peter Markou reported earlier this month that sales tax revenue under his purview increased by 1.04 percent, or $260,872, last year, from $25,021,770 in 2009 to $25,282,642 in 2010. State and local sales tax revenues across the state’s 62 counties increased by 8.30 percent, or $1.8 billion, in 2010, said Susan Burns, spokesperson of the state Department of Taxation and Finance. State and local sales tax revenue was $21.8 billion in 2009 and $23.6 billion in 2010. But according to a story in the January 28 Daily Mail by Colin DeVries, local elected officials are reluctant to peg the rises on a brighter economic outlook. "While neither Markou nor Burns would speculate on the upturn being indicative of an ever-brightening light at the end of this economic tunnel, a spokesperson for the state’s budget division said it wasn’t a sure sign of anything," DeVries writes. "Erik Kriss, spokesperson for the state Division of the Budget, said adjustments to state law skew the year-to-year comparison, essentially comparing 2009’s apples with 2010’s oranges." The state suspended the sales tax exemption on clothing and footwear under $110 until March 31, 2011. On April 1, 2011 the exemption will apply only for clothing and footwear under $55. The full exemption on clothing and footwear taxes for items under $110 will return April 1, 2012. In Greene County, a large increase in 2010 sales tax revenues occurred during the final weeks of the holiday shopping season and the busiest week for local ski areas. Could it be that some among us don't really want an improvement in economic reality due to such facts being inconvenient to gambled-on ideologies?