KINGSTON – Sales tax collections in Ulster County in the first six months of this year are up 32 percent above the same period last year. That is a growth rate that more than surpasses the effects of the pandemic on sales tax revenues, the county comptroller’s office said.
“If the current trends continue, we project that these revenues will exceed the budgeted projections in the current year,” said Comptroller March Gallagher. “Sales tax revenues combined with existing fund balances, reductions in personnel spending and American Rescue Plan funding mean that Ulster County is on track to close 2021 with a surplus that should be used to benefit taxpayers and improve services.”
Gallagher said increased purchases were across a wide range of categories.
“There is a lot more shopping happening. There is a lot more construction happening. There is a lot more visitation happening. There was some pent-up demand in terms of auto sales and other actions,” she said. “We are seeing not just a rebound, but I think you are seeing that infusion of federal unemployment insurance, ARP dollars, PPP loans and we are really seeing it in the sales tax revenues.”
Electronic shopping and mail-order houses saw the largest growth with 96 percent of $140 million when compared to the prior year’s figures. Other high growth categories included building material and supplies dealers, general merchandise stores, beverage manufacturing, warehouse clubs and supercenters, and beer, wine and liquor.
Beverage manufacturing saw the most significant growth with a $49 million increase (871 percent growth) in taxable sales over the prior year and includes facilities like wineries and distilleries that have recently gained popularity in the area.