Tri-county sales tax revenue in June drops significantly from year ago

·2 min read

Jul. 27—WATERTOWN — Sales tax revenue in June dropped significantly across the tri-county area compared to the same month last year.

Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties each experienced revenue decreases in excess of 30% from those realized in June 2021, while Lewis County's dropped by more than 25%, according to data released Wednesday by the state Comptroller's Office.

Jefferson County saw the largest percentage drop in revenue between June 2021 and June 2022 — 38% — going from $13.1 million last year to $8.1 million this year, a $5 million decrease. St. Lawrence County's revenue dropped 31.8%, or $2.8 million, from $8.8 million in June 2021 to $6 million this past month. Lewis County's revenue fell $600,000, or 26.3%, from last year, from $2.2 million to $1.6 million.

Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said in a statement the revenue slowdown, which occurred across most upstate counties, could be attributed in part to a temporary reduction in local sales tax on gasoline, but could also represent "a possible return to more typical growth rates after the dips and rebounds caused by the COVID pandemic."

Mr. DiNapoli said most counties' revenue rebounded quickly after the initial wave of the pandemic in spring 2020 and have continued to experience significant growth in the months since. He said the slowed revenue in June "bears watching." He said local officials need to closely monitor changing economic conditions and "be prepared to make adjustments, especially as the cost of goods and services continues to rise."

For the year to date, the three north country counties remain slightly ahead in revenue compared to a year ago. For the months of January through June, Jefferson County has realized a 1.4% increase, from $47 million during the same months last year to $47.7 million this year, a $700,000 increase. St. Lawrence County's revenue rose 4.2%, or $1.5 million, from $35.4 million to $36.9 million. Lewis County gained 8.2%, from $7.7 million a year ago to $8.3 million this year, an increase of $600,000.

Oswego County has experienced similar trends. In June, it realized a 30.4% decrease in revenue compared to June 2021, going from $7.2 million last year to $5 million this year, a $2.2 million decrease. For the first six months of 2022, the county's revenue is up 14.4% above the same time period a year ago, from $25.5 million last year to $29.2 million in 2022, an increase of $3.7 million.