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2013 Sales Tax Revenue Letter

March 3, 2014



The Honorable Erie County Legislature

92 Franklin Street – Fourth Floor

Buffalo, New York 14202


RE:      2013 Sales Tax Revenue

Dear Honorable Legislators:

New York State has notified the County of the total amount of sales tax revenue collected for 2013.  Despite an increase in revenue from last year, the County collected nearly $6 million less than what the Administration budgeted for.  This confirms what I cautioned your honorable body about several times throughout the past year.  The Administration was, and continues to be, overly aggressive with their sales tax revenue projections. 

Annual Sales Tax Revenue:    January – December 2012       $410,720,331.50

                                                            January – December 2013       $420,081,213.92

Annual Difference:                          +$9,360,882.42           or +2.28%


Monthly Sales Tax Revenue:   December 2012                                   $36,123,530.63

                                                            December 2013                                   $34,181,081.38

Monthly Difference:                         -$1,942,449.25 or -5.38%

These numbers are very concerning to me for three reasons:

  1. Sales Tax Revenue came in $5,952,473.08 under budget.
  2. Revenue declined by nearly $2 million in December, a month it typically grows.  
  3. The Canadian Dollar continues to lose value.

As the Canadian Dollar declines in value, it simply will no longer be worth the trip for Canadian citizens to come to the United States to shop.  I fear that the decline in December 2013 sales tax revenue may mark the beginning of a trend.  If this trend materializes, continued failure to meet budget on sales tax revenue is not something the County Executive will have the luxury of ignoring in 2014, similar to what happened in 2013.





                                                                        STEFAN I. MYCHAJLIW

                                                                        Erie County Comptroller

 cc:        Hon. Mark C. Poloncarz

            Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority


Link to letter