Ulster County sales tax grows by over 21 percent during pandemic

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KINGSTON – Ulster County had seen an average annual sales tax revenue growth of 3.55 percent during the 15-year period of 2006 through 2021; however, between the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, it saw a 21.65 percent increase, according to an analysis by County Comptroller March Gallagher’s office.

The 2023 county budget projects sales tax revenue of $167 million based on expected sales tax returns of $167 million in 2022.

Sales tax income makes up 44 percent of the proposed 2023 budget revenues.

The county saw two years of negative sales tax growth since 2006, once in 2009 (-8.06 percent) and again in 2013 (-1.52 percent).

The county experienced a 3.98 percent average sales tax growth rate over the five-year period just prior to COVID-19.

“Ulster County has experienced unprecedented sales tax revenue growth and now has a very large fund balance; however, the comptroller’s office recommends prudence in the addition of ongoing operating expenditures which could increase at a rate that outpaces recurring operating revenue growth in future years,” said Gallagher.