Erie County third highest sales tax revenue generator in 2017

Stock photo of a person shopping.
Stock photo of a person shopping.

Erie County was the third highest sale tax revenue generator for New York State in 2017 according to a report released Monday by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Shoppers in the county generated $764 million in 2017 up 3.18% from 2016’s $740 million.  Statewide, local sales tax brought in $16.6 billion – an increase of $620 million according to the report.

“It’s a double edge sword for me,” Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw tells Cheektowaga Chronicle.

The 8.75% sales tax collected is the largest source of revenue for the county.  Not counting New York City – which brought in alone $7.4 billion – he says Erie County gets third place honors because of a large number of Canadian shoppers and the fact we’re taxed so heavily.

“Erie County charges one of the highest percentages so by sheer volume we’re going to collect more than others municipalities,” said Mr. Mychajliw.

Of the $764 million sent to Albany this past year, Mr. Mychajliw says roughly $400 million will be returned to Erie County.  The final numbers have yet to be determined because New York State is two months behind on sending revenue figures back to the county he says.

“I think it’s outrageous that we have one of the highest rates in all of New York State. We have some of the highest taxes in all of New York State when you combine federal, state, and school taxes – I think its a joke.  The politicians need to tighten their belt and figure out a way to do more with less – the same way families at home are doing,” added Mr. Mychajliw.

As a region, DiNapoli’s report shows that Western New York is down 3.1% overall compared to our upstate counterparts.

“You can see a direct correlation between bridge traffic and sales tax revenue – the two are tied together.  More than likely Canadian shoppers are staying closer to where they cross rather than traveling to other counties,” said Mr. Mychajliw.

The top 2 county sale tax generators for New York State were Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island.