New York sales tax revenue growth has been strong around New York City but weaker upstate in the first half of 2013, Moody’s Investors Service said.
Statewide sales tax revenues increased 5.7% in the first six months of the year from the first six months of 2012.
Counties in New York City suburbs accounted for four of the seven biggest percent increases in these revenues. They were Nassau (first with an 11% increase), Rockland (second with a 9.3% increase), Suffolk (sixth with a 6.2% increase) and Westchester (seventh with a 5.8% increase).
New York City’s sales tax results through May were up 7.2% compared to the first five months of 2012. Revenues for the first six months are not yet available.
In terms of dollars, 92% of the state’s sales tax revenue growth was in New York City and the four nearby counties. This was due in part to an increase in sales connected to the post-Hurricane Sandy reconstruction, Moody’s associate analyst Shannon McCue and vice president Nicholas Samuels, wrote.
Sales tax revenues are important to New York counties. Nassau County got 28% of its fiscal 2012 revenues from sales taxes. Rockland County received 39% of its fiscal 2011 revenues from this source.
The increases are credit positives for New York City and the surrounding counties, the analysts wrote.
In the first half of 2013, however, 16 upstate counties had declines in sales tax revenues, a credit negative for them, the analysts wrote.
The counties with the four worst sales tax revenue declines were Chemung (6.4%), Tioga (5.4%), Broome (5.1%) and Schoharie (4%). Chemung County’s decline was spurred by the closing of a Sikorsky military aircraft completion center.
Three counties near to Canada were an exception to the pattern of weak results in upstate counties. Genesee (8.5% growth), Niagara (7.8% growth), and Essex (6.6% growth) all benefited from an influx of Canadian purchasers attracted by the relatively strong Canadian dollar and comparatively low sales tax rates found south of the border.