HUDSON — Sales tax collections in Columbia County increased more than 20% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period last year.
Local sales tax collections in Columbia County increased 21.2% for the months of January through March from 21.2% this year over the same quarter last year.
The increase from $11.8 million collected for this period in 2021 increased to $14.3 million collected in 2022 to date, according to a report from the New York State Comptroller’s Office.
“We recorded one of the largest year-over-year sales tax increases in the state in the first quarter of 2022, with a 21% jump,” the chairman and chief executive said Friday. the director of the Columbia Economic Development Corporation, F. Michael Tucker. “Partly due to inflation and county sales tax collection has increased 43%, comparing this first quarter to 2019.”
He said the CEDC looked at the 2019 numbers so they could look at that outside of the context of the pandemic.
“This demonstrates the volume of activity taking place in multiple sectors across the county,” Tucker said. “At the same time, a significant percentage of sales tax is collected on gasoline and those numbers are impacted across the board and the inflation that we’ve all experienced.”
The 21.2% change in Columbia County is the largest in the Capital Region and one of the largest in the state. In New York, two counties have larger percentage increases, Broome and Yates counties, and Schuyler County saw a 21.2% increase like Columbia County.
“Part of this may be due to the low unemployment rate in Columbia County,” Tucker said.
“Our unemployment rate is among the lowest in the state,” Tucker said. “People are back to work and have disposable income as well as the fact that the county’s economy is heavily influenced by tourism and second homes.”
The county had already seen an increase in online shopping contributing to an increase in sales tax collected, Columbia County Treasurer PJ Keeler said.
“Traditionally, the top sales categories for sales tax revenue generated for Columbia have been gasoline, car dealerships, building materials, and electronic shopping have now appeared there, along with restaurants and other retail establishments. restoration,” Keeler said. “I guess those categories probably haven’t changed, although I expect the most important factor right now is probably the price of gasoline and the inflationary factors contributing to it.”
It would be difficult to predict whether this increase will continue, Keeler said. Right now, he added, this increase is an anomaly, as the county had not previously experienced this spike in sales tax.
“I think it’s important to note that in Columbia County we distribute about 30 percent of the sales tax to cities and the town of Hudson,” Keeler said. “For the first quarter of this year, we distributed about $4.4 million to towns and cities, up from about $3.5 million last year. Everybody, every city, every town, the city, the county all had inflation.
Consumers are returning to stores and restaurants more this year than last, Columbia County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bill Gerlach said Friday.
“I think right now that’s what drives higher sales taxes,” Gerlach said. “Also, we cannot decrease the number of people who come here to visit. People spend and buy food and, of course, that leads to sales tax. »
“We are seeing signs of strength in the economy this year,” Gerlach said. “It’s important not to underestimate people’s demands on things now, and people are waiting to upgrade homes and waiting for long periods of time for furniture. The demand also contributes to a sales tax increase.
“I think people are feeling pretty good right now,” Gerlach said. “I’m concerned about inflation, like everyone else. I’m concerned about the price of energy right now, like everyone else.
Statewide, local government sales tax collections increased 21.1%, or $901 million, in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, according to the report. of the controller. Collections for the quarter totaled nearly $5.2 billion, with growth driven at least in part by inflation, according to the report.
“Local sales tax collections continue to be significant. As local governments collect more, they also face some of the same increased costs as consumers and private businesses,” DiNapoli said. “As prices rise, we are closely monitoring the impact of the rate of inflation and economic volatility on New York’s economic recovery.”