Jefferson, St. Lawrence counties see modest increase in sale tax revenue in 2023; Lewis County has slight dip

Feb. 5—WATERTOWN — Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties saw modest gains in local government sales tax collections in 2023 compared to the previous year, while Lewis County experienced an almost negligible dip in receipts.

According to data released Monday by the state comptroller's office, Jefferson County's collections rose 2.7% in 2023 over those received in 2022, while St. Lawrence County's collections were up 0.6%. Lewis County saw a year-over-year drop of 0.7%.

For Jefferson County, 2023 receipts totaled $103.7 million, a $2.7 million increase over the $101 million collected in 2022. St. Lawrence County's receipts grew by $500,000, from $80.29 million in 2022 to $80.79 million this past year. Lewis County saw its collections dip by $130,000, from $18.33 million in 2022 to $18.20 million in 2023.

The city of Ogdensburg's collections rose from $1.51 million in 2022 to $2.11 million in 2023, an increase of $600,000, although a true year-over-year comparison is not possible because the city did not start collecting its own sales tax until March 2022.

Oswego County's receipts went up 1.6% between 2022 and 2023, from $61.44 million in 2022 to $62.43 million this past year, an increase of $990,000. The city of Oswego's collections grew by $2.98 million, or 16%, going from $18.71 million in 2022 to $21.69 in 2023.

Overall, according to the comptroller's office, collections grew about 4.2% statewide, totaling $23 billion in 2023, a $919 million increase over 2022.

The growth in sales tax collections is now at about the same levels seen prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021 and 2022, collections grew by double-digit percentage points, as inflation brought higher prices and overall sales increased compared to the period of the pandemic, but the comptroller's office says the growth is now more consistent with that seen in the years between 2011 and 2019.

The change in gasoline prices over the past couple of years has also had a notable impact on local sales tax collections, according to the comptroller's office, as the taxes collected on the retail sale of motor fuels comprise around 5% of local collections statewide in a given year.

Quarterly year-over-year gasoline prices declined anywhere from 3.1% to 21.4% in 2023 as sales tax growth continued to slow, whereas nearly 46% average growth in gasoline prices from the second quarter of 2021 to the third quarter of 2022 helped drive significant sales tax increases during that period.