New York cities, towns rely more on taxes as aid lags-report
Jan 16 (Reuters) - Cities, counties and school districts across New York state have increasingly relied on v olatile local tax revenues to survive as growth in state and federal aid stalled over the past decade, according to a report on Wednesday.
Total state and federal aid to New York local governments grew an average of 2.2 percent annually between 2001 and 2011, said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a report.
But revenues from sales and real property taxes -- both of which can be volatile, depending on the economy -- grew at annual rates of 5.9 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively, he said.
The annual rate of inflation, meanwhile, was 2.4 percent. The findings on federal and state aid exclude federal stimulus money, which was a temporary source of funding for municipalities that ended after 2011.
"Federal and state aid have slowed at a time of rising local costs," DiNapoli said in a statement.
Even before Superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Coast on Oct. 29 and damaged local infrastructure, some areas of New York were facing fiscal stress.
Upstate cities like Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo have suffered decades of economic decline and population losses. Nassau and Suffolk Counties, on Long Island, have struggled to close budget deficits in recent years.
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