Sales tax collections by local governments in April sharply increased compared to the same month a year ago as the economy starts to show signs of a nascent recovery following the pandemic-inducted shutdown in 2020.
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on Friday in a monthly sales tax report found tax collections for local governments grew by 45.7% in April, totalling $1.5 billion. That's an increase of $464 million from last year.
Sales tax is a key indicator of consumer behavior and the revenue for local governments helps to keep taxes elsewhere in budgets low.
"The strong collections in April show that the economy is gaining steam, thanks in part to federal aid, more lifts in restrictions and a climb in the vaccination rates," DiNapoli said. "However, local governments must monitor changing economic conditions and continue to be vigilant when it comes to their finances."
The spike in the monthly sales tax collections is reflective of the overall weaker revenue from a year when business, schools and other public gathering places closed last year. But in a sign there has been pent-up demand, sales revenue last month was up 10.2% compared to April 2019, DiNapoli said.
Nearly all counties, save for Oswego County, saw a year-over-year increase in sales tax growth.
The news comes as New York is expected to ease COVID-19-related guidelines next Wednesday, and as the CDC has recommended people who have been fully vaccinated can go maskless in most settings, with some exceptions.
New York's economy shed 2 million jobs last year amid the pandemic, and while some jobs have returned, the state has generally lagged behind the rest of the country on average.