CITY AWAITS FINAL JUNE SALES TAX NUMBERS AFTER SOFT MAY. DOWN IN Sales Tax $$ three of last four years

WPCNE QUILL & EYESHADE. By John F. Bailey. July 2, 2019:

The city fiscal year just concluded. Now they await the June sales revenues to see if a great June buying spree in downtown White Plains NY USA will have them meet last year’s sales revenues ($50.1 Million).

As WPCNR writes this, the city if the make the same sales tax revenues they collect last June, the 2018-2019 project sales tax revenue will only be $49.7 Million. That is a 3/4% behind last year

The mystery is why the sales tax revenues have not grown more robustly, at least keeping pace with inflation which has average 2%. Let’s take a look:

Considering that most business subject to sales tax raise their prices each year to reflect inflation, one might assume that you expect the sales tax revenues to rise at least 2% instead sinking from the 2014 highwater mark of $52 MILLION.

If you assume prices should go up 2% a Year the city since 2014,, if prices of retailers went up by 2% a year, the city should be ahead in sales revenues some $10 Million.

What is the ominous message behind this anemic trend?

If our merchants and restaurants did not raise prices by 2% a year, well that is one thing. But if they did raise prices to keep pace, that indicates sales are down almost 12% and overall revenues down 20% something far more troubling.

However, since the City of White Plains does not get a report of what individual business pay the city in sales taxes from the Department of Taxation and Finance, it is impossible for the city to know what businesses are thriving and which are not, let alone the source of most sales tax (autos, entertainment, restaurants, individual retailers, malls–an economics demographic cannot be figured for city marketing efforts.

The County, by contrast is up 3% the first 5 months of the year in sales tax revenues.

A far more darker side is whether sales are being reported accurately.

This issue of continued softness should be examined with close attention by the next Common Council.

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