Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz reported that sales tax revenues continue to be on the rise in 2013 after receiving the latest sales tax receipt information from New York State in which the County has experienced growth of 6.15% compared to the amount last year. Year-to-date, sales tax revenues have grown by 3.12% over 2012 and are now just slightly below budget for the year.
While this growth is positive, the county executive noted that the Division of Budget and Management is monitoring the sales tax revenue needed to meet the 2013 budget target. Although receipts are still slightly under budget they have steadily increased over the course of the year, making previous criticism of sales tax projections as being ‘overly aggressive’ premature and unwarranted. Additionally, this good news does not include the majority of fourth quarter sales tax receipts, which, historically based on holiday shopping, is the strongest quarter of the year.
“It is encouraging and positive that sales tax revenues continue to grow, inching us closer and closer to being on budget for the year,” said Poloncarz. “The steady growth we have seen the last few months, even before the holiday shopping season, is a good omen for the rest of the year and it is looking more likely that even with the usual fluctuations we will be close to or on budget for sales tax by the end of the year.”
Referring to constant criticism that sales tax projections were ‘overly aggressive’ by the county comptroller, Poloncarz added, “Over six years as Comptroller, when it comes to sales tax, I’ve seen it all: from more than 7% annual growth, to modest annual growth, to negative growth during the worldwide near-depression of 2009-2009. Based on my experience, I would encourage Mr. Mychajliw to take a more measured approach in his comments regarding the usual fluctuations in this volatile revenue stream, rather than express dire warnings based on limited and incomplete data.”
The County’s 2013 Budget includes sales tax revenue totaling $720.9 million, of which the County is budgeted to receive $394.6 million and local governments, school districts and the NFTA will receive $326.3 million, providing a critical but unpredictable revenue source for local governments and school districts.