September 2021 County Sales Tax Revenue Update

In our Sales Tax Revenue Update from December of 2020, CDRPC noted that through October 2020, regional sales tax revenues had appeared to not only recover from the drops experienced in the months following the pandemic but to be growing slowly past pre-pandemic levels. With data now through August 2021, the trend of increasing sales tax revenues has continued overall across the region, hitting a high of over $100 million in June 2021 across the 8-County Greater Capital Region, the highest since 2017.

In our last update, we noted how after experiencing a drop in due to the COVID pandemic, regional sales tax revenues not only recovered back to pre-pandemic level but exceeded previous levels in September 2020, with all eight counties seeing their highest single-month revenues since 2017. Since October of 2020, revenues have fluctuated but ultimately increased through August 2021. After dips in October and November of 2020, revenues saw a jump again in December 2020. In the case of Albany County, this jump was even higher than September 2020 revenues. Revenues fluctuated through the first half of 2021 across the region, decreasing through January and February. After a slight increase in March, there were slight revenue decreases in April and May 2021. Throughout this period of fluctuation, regional sales tax revenues have stayed mostly within pre-pandemic levels.

In June 2021, the region saw another significant jump in revenues, reaching the highest single-month total for each county in the Greater Capital Region except Schenectady and Rensselaer Counties. Schenectady and Rensselaer, being outliers, saw an increase in June 2021 but a much lower increase than the other six counties saw. The other counties all saw not only a significant jump from May to June, but also significantly higher totals than in June 2020, 2019, and 2018. For example, Albany County had a total sales tax revenue of approximately $22 million in May 2021 but jumped to over $35 million. In June of 2020, Albany County’s revenues reach approximately $23 million.

Total Monthly Sales Tax Revenue – Greater Capital Region

Combining the monthly sales tax revenues of all 8 counties in the Greater Capital Region paints a clear picture of the growth overall since the beginning of the pandemic. After a very noticeable drop in April and May of 2020, total tax revenues have continued to increase overall through August 2021. There is another noticeable dip in January and February of 2021, but since then, with COVID vaccinations becoming more widely available and more establishments re-opening in-person availability, revenues have continued to grow. Increasing sales tax revenues are a positive sign for the regional economy and suggest that the region will be able to come back stronger after the COVID pandemic.