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Another barometer of local growth

August 7, 2019 07:41 pm

It doesn’t take a financial expert to tell us that business growth means economic growth.

So, as Greene and Columbia counties foster retail development in 2019, it makes sense that sales tax collections are growing along with it, and that bodes well for the local economy.

In Greene County, the sales tax percentage collection increase grew from the previous year. For the first half of 2019 compared to 2018, sales tax collections rose 4.9%; from 2018 to 2017 it grew 3.4%. The state is trending toward slower growth, but Greene County’s figures are rising.

In Columbia County, the rate continues to grow year to year, though growth has slowed moderately. The growth rate from first half 2019 to first half 2018 was 5.3%, while last year that figure was 7.7% compared to the same time period in 2017.

Greene County is experiencing an expansion in the retail business community and that is having a healthy impact on sales tax growth. In addition to the new businesses, existing businesses are expanding.

Sales tax collection reflects the ability of both counties to attract visitors who will spend money on consumer goods, whether it is food, lodging or simply a stop for gasoline at the convenience store. The increases are showing up in the summer and autumn tourist seasons, where they are anticipated. But there is a glimmer in the off-seasons. And winter draws thousands to local ski resorts.

Compare the increase in consumer spending to increased sales tax collection and combine them with the low unemployment rates. It means visitors are earning money and are arriving in Columbia and Greene counties willing to spend it.