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Rockland County Faces Sales Tax Decline in 2023, Bucking Regional Trend

Rockland County experienced a surprising decline in sales tax revenue in 2023, marking its first drop since the COVID-19 pandemic began. According to the New York State Comptroller’s report, the county’s sales tax collections decreased by 1.4% to $285.4 million, down from $289.5 million in 2022. This downturn contrasts with the overall 4.2% increase in sales tax revenue across New York State, which saw collections rise to $23 billion in 2023.

This decline is notable as Rockland was the only county in the Mid-Hudson region to report a decrease in sales tax revenue, while neighboring counties like Putnam, Orange, Ulster, and Sullivan all saw increases. Despite expectations that December holiday shopping would boost sales tax collections, the county ended the year with a shortfall.

Sales tax is a critical revenue source for local governments, funding essential services and infrastructure. The decrease in Rockland comes despite the county’s prior fiscal health, which had allowed for the elimination of several local taxes. County Executive Ed Day attributed part of the revenue shortfall to the discontinuation of the Residential Energy Sales Tax.

The decline in sales tax revenue affects not only the county’s budget but also the financial planning of its towns and villages, which depend on their share of these funds. As Rockland County adjusts to this unexpected financial challenge, it raises questions about the impact on community services and future fiscal strategies.

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