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DiNapoli: NYS sales tax revenue drops 9.5%, but LI stabilizing

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli speaks

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli speaks at Clinton G. Martin Park in New Hyde Park, Jan. 6, 2019. Credit: Jeff Bachner

ALBANY — State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Wednesday that local sales tax revenue for July through September was 9.5% lower statewide than in the same period in 2019, but that Long Island is among the areas starting to stabilize after the economic damage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sales tax revenue is a major funding source for local governments and a drop in the tax collections can further pressure increases in local property taxes.

DiNapoli said sales tax collections across Long Island rose 0.8% of 1% compared to the third quarter of 2019. Within that regional figure, Suffolk County’s sales tax collection increased 2.86% in the third quarter, while Nassau County’s sales tax revenue declined 1.6%.

By comparison, New York City’s sales tax revenue in the third quarter was 21.9% less than the third quarter of 2019.

On Long Island, the third quarter sales tax revenue decline of less than 1% is an improvement from the second quarter loss. In that April to June period, sales tax revenue across the Island was 24% less than the second quarter of 2019, according to DiNapoli’s report.

Statewide, the sales tax revenue in the third quarter is also an improvement over the second quarter. Across the state in the second quarter, sales tax revenue was 27.1% lower than the same period in 2019.

"The third quarter sales tax figures show a significant improvement," DiNapoli said. "Still, collections are down, especially in New York City, and local governments are facing serious fiscal challenges."

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Nationwide, DiNapoli said sales tax collections grew by 6.4% compared to the third quarter of 2019. He said that growth was led by sales of building materials, garden centers, sporting goods, hobby stores and internet-based retail.

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