WATERTOWN — Sales tax collections in August continued to rebound in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, with each county seeing at least a 20% increase over the same month a year ago.
Year-to-date collections show a similar trend, although direct comparisons are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic which caused a shutdown of many businesses for several months in 2020.
According to the state Comptroller’s Office, St. Lawrence County realized the largest percent increase in collections in August — 35.8% — compared to the other two countries, going from $4.5 million received in 2020 to $6.2 million this August, a $1.7 million increase. Jefferson County realized a 24.6%, or $1.6 million, increase, going from $6.3 million in August 2020 to $7.9 million this year. Lewis County gained $200,000, or 21.7%, going from $1 million last year to $1.2 million in August 2021.
For the eight months of January through August, Jefferson County has experienced the largest percent increase in sales tax collection, going from $48.4 million in 2020 to $63.1 million this year, representing a $14.7 million, or 30.4% increase. Lewis County saw collections rise by $2 million, or 24.5%, going from $8.1 million in the first eight months of 2020 to $10.1 million this year. St. Lawrence County experienced a $9.3 million, or 24.2%, increase during the period, from $38.2 million in 2020 to $47.5 million this year.
Oswego County’s collections over the first eight months of 2021 rose by $4.9 million, or 16.1%, from $30.1 million in 2020 to $35 million to date this year. During August, the county’s collections gained $2.2 million, or 33.9%, over the same month a year ago, going from $3.6 million in 2020 to $4.8 million this year.
Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said in a statement that, statewide, local government sales tax collections in August were 15.5% higher than they were during the same period in 2020, making it the fifth consecutive month that collections exceeded 2020 results.
“New York’s local governments continue to see much stronger collections in 2021 compared to last year when the pandemic kept people home,” Mr. DiNapoli said. “However, it remains uncertain how recent increases in statewide infection rates will impact the economy. Local governments must continue to monitor changing economic conditions and maintain vigilance when it comes to their finances.”