State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli reports that New York sales tax revenue went down last year by 5.9 percent versus 2008. And city sales tax collection declined even in the spender’s paradise of New York City, by the same percentage. (It was worse elsewhere: in the Lower Hudson Valley collections were down by 8.4 percent.)
But someone’s making money: Wall Street bonuses were up 17 percent by the comptroller’s estimate. Though still well below those paid in the boom years, such honoraria went up 17 percent to $20.3 billion.
DiNapoli acknowledged these bonuses, coming on the heels of massive federal bailouts, might be considered a “bitter pill” by many citizens, but at least the cash part of the bonuses (they in some instances consist of stock) are taxable and, if spent in the state and not lodged in shelters, will bring more revenue.
By the close of the current fiscal year next month, DiNapoli thinks the state deficit will be between $1.4 billion and $2 billion. This compares favorably with the $8.2 billion deficit Governor Paterson claimed earlier this month, but the governor is sometimes playful with such numbers.
At least the state pension fund is healthier. Last year it lost 26.3 percent of its value, but DiNapoli says its rate of return has come back to about 22 percent, and its value risen from $109.9 billion to $129.4 billion.