New York City sales tax collections dropped 24.4 percent in April compared to April 2019, leaving many of New York’s local governments grappling with shortfalls amid the state lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, according to figures released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
The New York Post reports, plummeting sales tax collections were widespread, leaving counties, cities and some other local governments short by about $327 million compared to 2019. The city experienced a 23.1 percent decline, amounting to $141.8 million in lost revenues for a single month. Every county in every region of the state saw a large drop in April collections – averaging a combined drop of 24.4 percent. Data was not available for e-commerce taxes.
The report is bad news for state government. The new fiscal year began April 1.
The drop in revenues is not a surprise given Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency stay-at-home and social distance orders to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, which triggered the closing of many retail stores, restaurants and hotels — major generators of sales tax collections on consumer purchases.
The coronavirus-fighting orders also caused massive unemployment.
The comptroller’s analysis comes as Cuomo and other New York pols lobby the federal government for a COVID-19 disaster relief bailout.
“The coronavirus has hurt household finances, and the April sales tax figures show how deep it is cutting into municipal finances,” DiNapoli said.
“Sales tax revenues are vital for the counties and cities that are on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. They are the first responders and provide a safety net of services for New Yorkers. The federal government needs to provide assistance to those hit hard by this virus or the budget cuts could be severe in some communities.”
Cuomo said New York state needs $61 billion in federal aid to avoid substantial government cuts and layoffs.