Tonawanda News

March 19, 2013

Sales tax uptick recorded to start year

Staff Reports
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — The Erie County comptroller said January tax revenues rose by nearly 10 percent over the same month last year. 

The announcement comes despite worries expressed by newly elected comptroller Stefan Mychajliw and the county Division of Budget and Management last year that projections cited in the 2013 budget were unrealistic. 

Mychajliw said January 2013 sales tax revenue for Erie County is $31,111,048, approximately $2,509,702 higher than the January 2012 sales tax revenue of $28,601,346. This figure represents an 8.77 percent monthly growth for January 2013 as compared to January 2012.

Mychajliw also cited a statement made last week by Timothy Callan, of the county Legislature Finance and Management Committee, who indicated that budget projections for 2013 were “overly optimistic” and that the county would not meet its financial obligations slated in the budget. 

“I am leading by example by reducing expenses in my own department,” he said. 

Mychajliw initially highlighted the possibility of a potential budget gap last December, due to what he framed as the county’s reliance on uncertain sales tax revenue as its largest source of income. He said there is a large discrepancy in what the administration has projected for 2013 sales tax revenue over what was actually collected the prior year. He indicated sales tax revenue for all of 2013 must grow by 3.73 percent to to meet the budgeted target of $426,033,687 for 2013. 

“Sales tax shortfalls could be the main reason why there may be significant gaps,” he said. “Even the administration admits its own sales tax revenue projections are overly optimistic. This could blow a hole in the budget.”