Sales tax revenue collected by local governments in January was down 5.9% compared to a similar period last year, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found in a report on Wednesday. 

Collections were down $95 billion from January 2020, though less than the 8.4% drop in December and the double-digit declines of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Central New York was the only region of the state to see sales tax revenue growth in January, growing at a modest 1.7%. 

The news is a sign the economy is still stuck in neutral as the pandemic continues to grind on. Sales tax is vital for local governments as a revenue source used to offset tax increases elsewhere in their budgets, such as the property tax. 

New York, meanwhile, is seeking billions of dollars in federal aid to recoup some of the lost revenue. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh heavily on New York’s local governments, even as vaccines are being distributed and infection rates are declining from all-time highs,” DiNapoli said. “Congress must pass a COVID relief bill that helps our local governments during this crisis. Majority Leader Schumer and the entire New York congressional delegation know how much our local communities are suffering and are working diligently to get them aid.”