Comptroller’s report: Sales-tax revenues up

ALBANY COUNTY — Across the state, local sales-tax revenues continue to rebound at higher than at pre-pandemic levels.

Collections across New York totaled $5.2 billion in the third quarter, from July to September of 2021, which is up $861 million, or 20 percent, from the same period last year and continues the trend of exceeding pre-pandemic levels, according to a report released from State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

Outside of New York City, the July-September period marked the fifth quarter in a row that county and city sales-tax receipts met or exceeded 2019 pre-pandemic levels for the same period.

Third-quarter growth for the Capital District was 15.4 percent.

From January through September of 2020, Albany County took in $193.7 million in sales-tax revenues. This year, during those same nine months, the county collected $234 million — an increase of 20.8 percent.

Year to year, sales-tax revenues were down in Albany County in January (-7.5 percent) and February (-8.1 percent) but started picking up in March (12.5 percent) and then soared in April (49.5 percent), May (48.8 percent), and June (49.8 percent). It started leveling off in July (23.7) as well as in August (20.6 percent) and September (16.0 percent).

The strength in statewide local collections likely reflects changes seen nationally, DiNapoli’s report says.

The United States Census Bureau’s advance monthly retail trade report shows strong year-over-year growth for the third quarter, especially in sectors such as gas stations (38 percent), clothing stores (35 percent), and restaurants and bars (34 percent).

Increased costs for goods also increase sales-tax collections, and the price of consumer goods and services during this third quarter grew by 5.3 percent over the same period last year, as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

Overall, New York City’s collections have been recovering at a slower pace than the rest of the state since April 2020, but its sales tax revenue has nearly reached pre-pandemic levels.

The improvement in New York City sales-tax collections, the report says, is tied to factors such as the re-opening or increased permitted occupancy of more indoor venues such as restaurants, theaters, and sports arenas, as well as more offices requiring workers to return in person, at least part-time.

While DiNapoli said the year-over-year growth shows NewYork is experiencing economic recovery, he cautioned, “Local governments must closely watch changing economic conditions as supply-chain shortages and workforce disruptions may impact growth.”


Two more deaths

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy has announced two more deaths from COVID-19 this week: On Friday, a woman in her seventies and on Sunday a man in his seventies died of the virus.

This brings Albany County’s COVID-19 death toll to 425.

On Monday morning, McCoy also reported 52 new cases of COVID-19.

“It saddens me to have to report the latest COVID death in Albany County, someone taken from their family and loved ones too soon,” said McCoy in Monday’s release. “And while we’re still seeing these tragedies too often, on the other hand we’re also seeing a downward trend in new daily infections over the last several days.

“I’m hoping this will continue; however, it’s still too soon to know what kind of impact Halloween celebrations will have on our infection rate. Please do your part by getting vaccinated if you haven’t yet, wear masks indoors and cough and sneeze into your elbows.”

About two-thirds of county residents have been fully vaccinated.

The county’s five-day average of new daily positive cases is now down to 91.4.  

There are now 504 active cases in the county, down from 530 on Sunday. The number of Albany County residents under quarantine decreased to 990 from 1,003. 

There were three new hospitalizations since Sunday, and there are now a total of 37 county residents hospitalized with the coronavirus — a net decrease of one. Eight of those hospital patients are in intensive-care, down from nine Sunday.

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