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NYSAC estimates $2 billion loss in local revenues due to COVID-19 pandemic


Tue, Mar 31st 2020 12:55 pm

Report signals caution to governor & State Legislature 

By the New York State Association of Counties

The New York State Association of Counties has updated a report detailing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on county governments, stating that NY’s regional governments are now looking at a potential $2 billion loss in revenues. The report can be found here: Coronavirus Economic Impact: County Sales Tax Revenue Projections.

The report’s re-release comes after the state has reestimated its projected loss of revenues, and also as state leaders negotiate the final terms of the 2021 state budget. Two weeks ago, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s predicted a $4 to $7 billion loss in state revenue. This week, the governor said that loss is estimated to now be between $10 and $15 billion. The fiscal theory applies to local government.

“These revenue forecasts are very troubling for local governments and property taxpayers,” said NYSAC President John F. (Jack) Marren, chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors. “Counties are on the front lines executing this public health state of emergency, while the state manages it and the federal government supports it financially. We’ve never seen anything like this, ever. Our personnel is exhausted, our resources are scarce, but our spirit to defeat this silent enemy remains strong.”

NYSAC's report covered two economic impact scenarios: one with mild recession and a quick recovery, and the second assumes a more severe and prolonged recession. Based on the most recent projections at the state level, the range of impact has doubled to a $2 billion loss in local sales tax revenue. The report's estimates do not account for the local workforce-related revenue losses, and the costs associated with responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every level of government is going to feel the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and local governments are bracing for that loss of revenue. But we are also urging a partnership with the state as we confront the public health threat,” NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario said. We represent the same taxpayer at the local level and we have limited revenues. As the state enacts its operating budget, we ask for flexibility so that we can manage the fiscal impact locally. All units of government need a financial lifeline, and we will work with the state to rebuild the economy.”

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