Broome County’s sales tax revenues down 39%, may result in layoffs

Local News

BINGHAMTON, NY – It’s an up and down day for Broome County today as the celebration of the region’s move into Phase 3 of the reopening is tempered by a sobering financial report out of Albany.

County Executive Jason Garnar held his daily coronavirus briefing at Traditions at the Glen today.

As part of Phase 3, Traditions opened its massage and nail services at its spa, with bookings already reaching 50 percent capacity.

Garnar also announced that chiropractic, acupuncture and speech, physical and occupational therapies have all been green-lighted by the state.

However, the state comptroller’s office put out a report today showing that Broome’s sales tax revenue collections were down 39 percent in May compared to last year.

That, combined with the loss of casino, hotel/motel tax and DMV revenues, has the county on track for a 30 million dollar shortfall.

The 15 million dollar fund balance can cover half of that, but Garnar says the federal government needs to step up with the rest, or else.

“We don’t get a federal stimulus, we’re going to be talking about laying off a lot of people. But we’re doing everything we can do to avoid that from happening. There’s no doubt that the sales tax revenues that the comptroller put out are terrible for our finances, all brought on by this pandemic,” says Garnar.

Garnar says the county has already instituted voluntary furloughs, a reduction in county employee hours, a hiring freeze that’s left 200 positions unfilled and the elimination of millions of dollars in capital projects.

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