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Bellone gets mixed sales tax news

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone must submit his

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone must submit his first operating budget to the county legislature on Sept. 21. (July 31, 2012) (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has gotten his last sales tax check before presenting his proposed 2013 budget. The numbers, released Wednesday, weren’t encouraging.

Legislative budget analysts say that the check, which covers part of July and through the first 22 days of August is represents 2.6 percent growth over last year for the same period. Sales tax growth for the year to date is 3.6 percent.

That is below the 3.95 percent growth budgeted for sales tax in 2012. And because sales tax revenues last year came in below budget, revenues must grow by 4.61 percent to meet the 2012 budget sales tax figure of $1.218 billion.

Bellone must submit his first operating budget to the county legislature on Sept. 21. Gail Vizzini, director of the Office of Legislative Budget Review, said if the county sales tax remains at its current level for the remainder of the year, there will be an $11.8 million shortfall.

However, the quarterly sales tax check will come in Oct. 13 and if there is any bump in revenues, it could give legislators some flexibility in dealing with Bellone’s spending plan.

Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider said Wednesday that the new numbers are “further proof that we are not out of the woods by a long shot and we are going to have some very tough choices in balancing the budget.”

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