Drop in local sales tax dollars worse than Great Recession

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Local government sales tax collections across New York State declined by 10-percent last year ($1.8 billion), according to a new report from the comptroller’s office.

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That represents a steeper fall than during the Great Recession — collections dropped 6% in 2009.

Nearly half of all counties (37) took in less this year. The worst was in Tompkins County, which recorded losses greater than 10%.

On top of pandemic-related impacts, recent changes to NYS tax law further reduced the amounts paid out to counties.

The state is dealing with its own financial issues, prompting Gov. Cuomo to issue a letter to Congressional delegates asking them to secure fair and proportional funding in the next COVID-19 relief package.

Specifically, the governor pleaded for more federal assistance to the state and its municipalities.

He also asked for a repeal of the SALT cap and additional help for rent/mortgage relief and struggling restaurant workers.

Mayor Brian Tobin commented on what’s at stake during last Tuesday’s meeting of Cortland Common Council:

“President Biden put forward a proposal that would bring aid back to states and local municipalities,” he said. “From what I’ve read, the other side has put forward that does not include that assistance.”

Tobin added that if no deal is reached to replenish local governments, more funding cuts would be on the way to the city of Cortland.

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