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New Sales Tax Receipts Give Onondaga County Clearer Picture Of Economic Struggles Ahead

Onondaga County Executive's Office

With more sales tax payments arriving, Onondaga County officials are getting a fuller picture of economic struggles ahead. Sales tax is down about 7 %. If that trend persists, it would translate to a loss of around $28 million over the course of the year. On top of that, there are losses from room occupancy tax and gaming tax.

County Executive Ryan McMahon said the county has also incurred pandemic-associated costs.

“We have costs related to personnel and overtime during the pandemic.,” said McMahon. “We have costs related to PPE, tests, ventilators, and preparing and planning for the worst case scenarios in the pandemic. We have departments that essentially are out of their budget because of the pandemic.”

McMahon cites foster care as one of those departments.

COVID-19 health data remains stable in the community, with community spread averages in the single digits and an infection rate lower than 1%. The virus is still a threat, but some are not taking it as seriously as others. According to McMahon, his office receives complaints about large chain stores not enforcing social distancing or mask wearing.

“A lot of these Big Boxes that aren’t enforcing mask wearing, I highly suggest you change that. Because we feel everybody’s been put on the proper notice, and we’re going to take that very seriously,” said McMahon. 

McMahon said the county has also fined  “a handful” of local establishments that were not in compliance with state guidance.

Katie Zilcosky is WAER’s All Things Considered host and features reporter. She also co-hosts WAER’s public affairs show Syracuse Speaks. As a reporter, she focuses on technology, poverty, and identity.