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WAMC News

Counties Want Answers From State on Waning Sales Tax Revenues

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Counties across New York are concerned over reports that sales tax collections are plummeting and they are asking Governor Cuomo’s tax department for an explanation.

The New York State Association of Counties, dismayed over a report by the State Comptroller that sales tax collections have slowed to half of what they were last year, are asking Governor Cuomo’s tax department for more information, says the group’s Steven Aquario.

“Are we seeing a trend here?” Aquario says the counties are asking the tax officials.

The counties, in their letter, propose possible explanations, including declining fuel prices and the bad weather over the winter. But they say they’d like to know for sure and say they could use more help in, “identifying any significant state, regional or industry specific economic trends that may impact sales tax receipts for the remainder of 2015 and through 2016.” 

Aquario says they’d like more information about certain categories of tax revenue. For instance, he says, sales tax collected from a category listed as gas stations can be either from fuel or from convenience store items. 

The counties would also like to know more about how Internet sales are collected and distributed.

Aquario says local governments are already feeling the squeeze from the property tax cap and state mandated expenses and need all the information they can get to help them with their budgets for next year.

The state tax department did not have an immediate answer. 

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