Sales tax outlook is murky | Editorials


Some people believe that the precipitous drop in Columbia County’s sales tax revenue year over year from May to mid-June, when the county saw a 31% drop during the period, which represents an actual drop of $1.8 million, is a bad thing, given the impact of soaring inflation.

They would be right, but there is a burst of light at the end of this cloudy forecast.

“Counties were receiving a higher amount of sales tax this year,” Columbia County Treasurer PJ Keeler said Monday. “Once the state started to reconcile with New York, they found the city owed more and the counties owed less. So the next sales tax receipts will probably act in a similar situation.

The county is projected to be up to 26% ahead of last year’s sales tax revenue, but thanks to the reconciliation, the county is currently ahead 12% for the year 2021. If this trend continues, the county could end the year. 3% to 5% above last year’s total.

County officials are concerned about falling sales tax revenue and will be keeping tabs on potential budget impacts from lower revenue as the 2023 budget process begins this month, the chairman of the board of oversight said. of Columbia County, Matt Murell.

“Even though the sales tax is going down, we’re still further ahead than we were this time last year,” Murell said Monday. “He’s just not as tough as he used to be. It is something that we monitor. We kind of knew at some point that the bubble would burst. We cannot continue to rely on high sales taxes. This is something we have been monitoring for some time. I was hoping it would be further down the road. The other hope is that maybe it’s just a blip on the screen and things go back to where they were.

It’s a reasonable way to approach a risky situation. As Keeler said, no one has the crystal ball, but as Murell said, things could be much worse.

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