On Pace for $30 Million Surplus Over Sales Tax Revenue from last year.
“Deficit” requiring Astorino Airport lease deal already wiped out in cash surplus. White Plains has soft August. WP Hopeful for September.
WPCNR QUILL & EYESHADE. From the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Reporting by John F. Bailey September 26, 2018:
New York State reports Westchester County continues on a record breaking pace in its economy over 7 months, earning $354,759,043 through August of 2018 compared to $335,973,431 through August of 2017.
Despite a 1% decline in August sales tax receipts for the county from $42.6 Million last year to $42.1 Million this year, the county maintained its close-to 6% pace average monthly growth for the year.
To date, the county has seen sales tax receipts increase 5.6% over the first 7 months this year, delivering an $18.8 Million increase in sales tax dollars over this time last year.
This surplus makes up just about half of the $37 Million predicted by the county auditors that was needed to close the budget gap in 2018.
Should the county continue that 5.6% a month expansion, it will achieve an additional $10,614,221 in sales receipts that will deliver $200,153,888 in sales tax bonanza bringing in a record $555 Million in sales tax dollars through December.
The deficit bemoaned by the county legislators and the county financial experts last spring will be substantially met with this lovely cash.
The County Executive George Latimer in his WVOX radio appearance Tuesday morning said that if the trend continued the county would be more optimistic about the deficit, but warned that the growth rate may not continue (as it has for the last 7 months), or could fade. Latimer said the county has attempted to save money in other ways.
He said they have reduced electricity costs; has moved to “get more from” Arbnb hosts in the county by subjecting them to the hotel occupancy tax; also, he saved $4 Million with the new Liberty Lines contract.
He was more optimistic on the radio that the county could keep any property tax increase to under the 2% tax cap, so did not rule out a tax increase, but his remark on the ability to keep it under the tax cap holds out optimism that a major increase in taxes is no longer necessary.
White Plains Laments
In the City of White Plains, August was not a good month in sales taxes.
Whereas the county did see a $401,000 decline in sales taxes from August of 2017 (a 1% decline), White Plains suffered a $812,859 dollar decline from August, 2017 of 17.3%. July was an unusual big time month “handle” in sales taxes with the city getting 7.1% more in sales tax receipts $4,163,747 compared to $3888,289 last July.
Now in August it declines precipitously. What is disappointing is July was the first month White Plains had exceeded the county growth rate in sales tax (6%)all year.
This performance may improve in September numbers. But with two months gone in the White Plains fiscal year 2018-19, the city has collected $537,401 less than they did in July and August last summer.
That is an overall decline of 6.3% 12% below the Westchester County overall growth rate for the first 7 months
The city can receive some comfort from the caveat the Department of Taxation and Finance attaches to its monthly reports that month to month results should be looked at considering the third month results of each quarter. So perhaps White Plains will have a whopper result when the September figures hit October 19.
Cross your fingers.