Columbia, Greene cos. buck statewide sales tax trend
Natasha Vaughn is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media while sales tax revenue has decreased statewide, it is on an upswing in Columbia and Greene counties. The latest report from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released February 2, shows statewide sales tax collection has diminished by approximately 10 percent in the past year. “This report shows how deeply the COVID-19 pandemic cut into municipal finances,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “Local governments depend heavily on sales taxes as a major source of revenue, ... New York’s localities need federal aid to help get through this crisis.” But in Columbia County, sales tax revenue increased by about 3.1 percent, from $44.7 million in 2019 to $46.1 million in 2020. Greene County’s sales tax revenue went up by 6.2 percent, from $34.6 million in 2019 to $36.8 million in 2020. Next door, iAlbany County reported a decline of 6.8 percent, while Rensselaer County had a 0.4 percent increase, according to the comptroller's report. “It’s probably a combination of things,” said Greene County Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger. “More residents have been here in the last year, from the city and second homes, so they’re spending money here in the county. I think it’s probably got a little bit to do with our economic development team being in contact with our businesses, getting them able to open. I think it pretty significantly has to do with the new internet sales tax.” Columbia Economic Development Corporation President F. Michael Tucker said, “In April, May and June, when we were in the ultimate shutdown, we saw a 13.2 percent drop. We had significant recovery in the third quarter and it was off the wall in the fourth quarter. Obviously the increased activity — retail, gasoline, food, hospitality — surged in the third and fourth quarters based on not only the economy reopening, but the increase in second homeowners and visitors who saw the county as a refuge from larger cities.” Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.