NYS Comptroller: loss in sales tax revenue will create more economic woes for local governments

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(Nexstar DC photo)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- The Capital Region has lost the most sales tax revenue in the state for the month of April compared to sales tax collection in April 2019. It amounts to nearly $18 million dollars in lost revenue for the region based on a new report from the NYS Comptroller’s Office.

Plummeting sales tax collections were widespread, leaving counties, cities and some other local governments short by about $327 million compared to last year. Although the first quarter of 2020 was relatively strong, March sales tax collections had already begun to show the impact of the COVID-19 shutdown–a decrease of 3.7 percent statewide with the largest declines downstate. The April figures show shrinking revenues for local governments throughout the state.

NYS Comptroller’s Office

The report looked at year-over-year sales tax collection by county between January and April but focuses mainly on April because non-essential businesses were closed on March 22. Albany County saw the largest loss of sales tax dollars 32.3%, approximately $7.4 million.

April 2020 sales tax revenue loss

Source: NYS Comptroller’s Office

“Sales tax revenues are vital for the counties and cities that are on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. They are the first responders and provide a safety net of services for New Yorkers. The federal government needs to provide assistance to those hit hard by this virus or the budget cuts could be severe in some communities,” said Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

He’s not the first government agency to raise the alarm about the state’s finances. At the end of April, the NYS Department of the Budget estimated the state’s economic loss from COVID-19 to be $243 billion. Boston Consulting Group, the company that conducted a review of state finances, said without federal assistance the state was going to have to make deep financial cuts affecting all services.

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