WPCNR QUILL & EYESHADE By John F. Bailey. With data from the New York Department of Taxation & Finance. September 25, 2019:
The Westchester County decision to balance its deficit budget by asking the New York State Legislature for a 1% sales tax increase and getting the legislagture to pass it and Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign it — worked in August—the first month the increase went into effect.
In July 2019, Westchester County took in 44,144,098 in sales tax receipts up $2,150,752 from July of 2018, a rise of l/2% from July of 2018 when the 1% increase was not in effect because the governor signed it very late in June.
In August 2018 the County took in $44,228,342 in sales tax dollars, up from $42,197,188 in August 2018, an increase of $2,031,155 or 4.8%. It is a combination of the 1% sales tax increase and more economic activity.
Yet this is optimistic for the county.
Because of the county continues this growth rate of 4.8% in September, October, November and December this works out to exactly the $570 Million in sales tax receipts the county auditors said wouls be generated by the 1% sales tax increase. county needs to erase it’s self-inflicted deficit budget when it refused to approve the Playland Standard Amusements deal, (currently in litigation), and did not lease the airport as previously planned by the Astorino administration.
The airport remains unleased to this day with no growth plan for airport revenue in sight In fact that county in a news release last week said its two consulting firms are not considering any expansion in operations, and raising landing fees is currently being restudied by the County Airport Management Committee . ( The Legislature voted to approve the Astorino budget anyway last December, with a Democratic majority).
Let’s look at the math and what it means for this county fiscal year now in its eighth month, if this pleasant combination of sales tax increase and humming (should we say humming, perhaps encouraging), sales activity.
Last year in September, October, November and December Westchester County received $195,803,346 in sales tax $$. If the present trend of 4.8 to 5% growth a month continues, including the new sales tax increase, the county will generate an additional $9,398,564 in sales revenues added to the 2018 pace, generating $205.2 MILLION the last 4 months of the year.
Add that very rosy figure to the $364,585,741 collected through August and you end up with approximately $569.8 Million . Presto! The Latimer Administration solves the budget with the sales tax 1% increase.
And, there may be more. If the cash heartbeat in August continues and exceeds last year activity you may bubble over the $570 Million level. Then there’s next year to consider.
Through the first 7 months of Westchester County fiscal year of 2019, the county has collected $364,585,741, compared to $354,759,039, an increase of 2.8%, a little more than inflation.
White Plains does not keep pace.
White Plains started its fiscal year in July and it is not enjoying a good first two months.
It generated 7.8 Million in sax tax dollars in July and August compared to $8,053,688, meaning the city is down 3.1% from last year (while the county as a whole is up 1.8%. The city is 4.1% behind the county’s pace. Let us hope the third month of the quarter brings a robust comeback to get the city back even with last year.