Sales tax revenue can rise and fall based on the circumstances of the moment as we saw this winter in Lewis County where a light winter likely discouraged visitors to the county. (Ironically, warmer weather also decreases the take on various taxes on energy, but that's a good thing in my book.)
In Jefferson County and the City of Watertown, sales tax ran ahead of expectations and 2012 should be a good year with a full nest at Fort Drum and continued strong Canadian interest in visiting here.
Unlike school districts, where most funding comes from state and federal aid, cities, towns and villages receive a relatively small amount of their overall funding from that arena. In the City, sales tax revenue eclipses what is raised in property taxes by two to one.
The recent strength in sales tax allows a broader base to support our local government operations and has helped mitigate the crippling effect of pension premium contributions which are reaching very high levels.
2012 and its vitality should be used as an opportunity to reduce overall debt and contain tax rates with an eye towards the day when sales tax falters about part of the natural cycle.
Watertown Daily Times | Lewis County sales tax figures dip; other counties see increase