FUEL PRICES BOOST SALES TAX REVENUE
10-26-11 - The high price of gas is fueling savings for county taxpayers – even as it is hitting personal and business budgets.
Sales tax revenues for the county and its municipalities have increased 4.6 percent over last year, with $23,566,267 collected during the first three fiscal quarters of 2011.
“We are up over 4 percent from what we took in last year at this time,” said county Treasurer Ken Wilber. “We are in fine shape as far as that goes.”
The third quarter of the fiscal year – which
ended on September 30 – is typically a critical period for the county – either shoring up the revenue line that accounts for about 15 percent of Columbia County’s overall finances each year or creating a fiscal gap that cannot be closed by the end of the year.
The increase in sales tax collections is largely attributable to the higher fuel prices, with the average cost per gallon averaging between 50 cents and one dollar higher this year than last year.
“Gas prices have a lot to do with this,” said Wilber.
However, merchants also reported brisk Labor Day weekend and during the summer.
The county’s sales tax revenue comes from its 4 percent sales tax, which is added on to the 4 percent collected by the state, and portions of the total revenue are distributed to the towns and City of Hudson.
The county’s $149.2 million budget for 2011 calls for total sales tax revenues of $28,245,718.
With holiday shopping and the like on most family’s agendas, Wilber said the county looks to be on pace to exceed its budgeted revenue amount for sales tax.