Weekly Feature

2018-10-10 / Editorial

Economy helps boost funding for school districts

Bee Editorial

So far this year, school districts across Erie County are receiving more revenue than expected, leading to an increase in sales tax revenue.

Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw recently updated school districts throughout Erie County on rising sales tax revenue and the portion they receive through the 1977 Sales Tax Agreement.

School districts across the county saw an increase in sales tax revenue for the third quarter of the year. The revenue stream in part funds programs and services in schools, benefiting teachers, students and their families.

This is important because many students take advantage of the programs and services offered at their school. Many programs even impact the growth of a child throughout their time as a student and help them pursue future endeavors. According to Mychajliw, approximately $37,615,755 was shared amongst the 30 school districts in Erie County for the third quarter of the year. In the Williamsville Central School District, the total received in the third quarter was $3,061,949. In 2017, the third quarter totaled $2,991,161.

Amherst and Sweet Home school districts also saw increases. Amherst received $897,319 compared to $876,622 in 2017; and Sweet Home received $971,450 compared to $938,365 in 2017. Sales tax revenue is used in a wide variety of ways, decided by each district, Mychajliw’s office said.

“In Erie County, we pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation and taxpayers can’t afford to pay more, so the trend in increasing sales tax revenue is welcome news made better because it is the result of an improving economy,” Mychajliw said.

The amount a school district receives in sales tax revenue from the county was set in agreement between the county and the three cities of Buffalo, Lackawanna, and Tonawanda. The agreement, signed in 1977, forbids the three cities from enacting their own city-wide sales tax which they have the authority to do under state law, in exchange for the county sharing some of the revenue they collect with them, other towns and villages and school districts.

Mychajliw noted that the county is seeing an increase in sales tax revenue despite a decrease in international bridge traffic.

While Canadian shoppers have traditionally provided a boost to the local economy, the comptroller added that this rise is thanks, in part, to Federal Tax Reform, that is putting more money in the paychecks and pockets of taxpayers, who are reinvesting that into local businesses.

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