The Covid Economy. Sales Tax Receipts Pace Declines In White Plains and Westchester County

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WPCNR QUILL & EYESHADE. By John F. Bailey. Statistics Based on New York State Department of Taxation and Finance sales tax reports. November 24, 2020:

White Plains   sales tax receipts are down $3 Million the first first four months of the city fiscal year. They have declined every month since the the year started in July.

County sales taxes after being out in front of last year’s pace the first 9 months dipped through October. The county is looking at a 1.9% decline in ten months from 2019 the year the county increased sales tax 1%. This is a an indication that County and White Plains economic activity is not recovering.

In the county it is particularly devastating: the decline first appearing in the October figures indicates that they are down 3% in customer spending, despite their 1% increase in sales tax .

In White Plains, sales tax dollars declined $2,856,000 through October. November and December coming up traditionally are the make or break month in the city budget calculations.

Covid is rising in Westchester.

The sales tax increase in the county is not helping in White Plains because White Plains always charged the same percentage of sales tax as the county.

At the present level of consumer activity the administration has to look hard at cutting expenses to balance the budget in 2021-22. The city could be looking at a 25% revenue loss by June, the close of the fiscal year, that the city will have to make up in the new 2021-22 budget.

How’s the county doing. Last month the county was up 2%  in sales tax revenues FOR THE FIRST 9 MOTHS. . in the 10th month OCTOBER FIGURES JUST IN NOW SHOWS THE COUNTY IS DOWN 2%. So the 2% Gain, even with the 1% Sales Tax Increase is wiped out. T

The County predicted a 27% In crease in sales taxes in 2020, now faces a 76 Million deficit even if they meet last year’s Nov. DEC Receipts of  $127 MILLION . Meeting that handle is in doubt if the 2% decline in the county sales taxed categories continues, the county sales tax revenue will decline to $124.5 Million building to a 78.5 Million Deficit which will be covered by The county reserves, bolstered by $80 Million in Covid Relief.

If county sales tax dollars meet last November and December numbers the county will get more sales tax receipts than last year a projected total of $671,964,357 (using NYS Sales tax receipts trends), way below what they budgeted $127 Million, This is why according to the new 2020 budget, the county decided to transfer unspent covid money to the reserve fund, then swap out current reserves to cover the county self-imposed deficit.

White Plains is prohibited by charter from budgeting more revenues in sales taxes than they receive in the past budget year. This is why the city is not in a deficit position because they cannot increase the budget on optimistic speculation of revenues.

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