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Politics and Government

Onondaga County sales tax revenue is up, Mahoney credits tourism investments

Ellen Abbott
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.

Sales tax receipts are up in Onondaga County. Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said it shows there has been a return on the investment in things like the St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview.

Through April, sales tax revenue is 4.2 percent higher compared to the same time last year. Mahoney said the state numbers don’t allow her to pinpoint the exact reason for the increase. And while increased gas prices have a direct effect on local sales tax collections according to the state comptroller, Mahoney said that dovetails with investments the county has made to promote tourism.

"Gas plays a role in it," Mahoney said. "But how many people are stopping at a gas station while they’re in town for a concert, or to come to the mall or to come to the state fair. All of that is contributing to the bottom line."

The increase puts an extra $2.6 million in county coffers, which rely more and more on sales tax dollars to keep the budget balanced. Mahoney said that will make the budget process easier.

"If this four percent increase were to go through the entire year, we would have a budget surplus, because we budgeted for less sales tax growth,” Mahoney said.

The sales tax increase will also provide the cash strapped city of Syracuse an extra $600,000 compared to the same time period last year.