sales tax

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

A televised debate Wednesday evening started with a fight over the difference between the tax rate and the tax levy, and eventually turned into an argument about PhotoShopped photos used in campaign ads. The campaign for Erie County Executive has been getting progressively rougher as Election Day approaches.

WBFO file photo

Shoppers enriched New York State and local counties last year, as sales tax collections were up more than five percent.

Mark Scott / WBFO News

It's the law of unintended consequences: the rising price of gasoline means sales tax collections are up across New York State - and quite noticeably in Erie County.

New York State Comptroller's Office

When the final figures came out in sales tax collections across New York in 2017, there was good news for county governments in Western New York and for some cities.

Without debate or discussion Thursday, Erie County legislators recognized county fiscal realities and voted unanimously to ask Albany to extend much of the county's sales tax authority.

Erie County's sales tax collections are running ahead of budget, a good sign as the county fiscal year nears its fourth quarter.

Sales tax is the single largest source of cash for the county, last year reaching more than $400 million for the first time.

A lot of that cash arrives in loonies and toonies from Ontario, as shoppers come across the Niagara River to take advantage of lower taxes and often larger store stocks.