So far this year, the city has collected 11.8 percent less from the sales tax than budgeted. The November number, released yesterday, was 7.6 percent less than what city officials expected to take in. So those of you who thought things couldn’t get worse after last year’s disaster? They are. For the second consecutive month, sales tax receipts have fallen to 2004 levels. Why is this important? Because the city is not spending money at 2004 levels, but is spending one-third more more than it did in 2004.

The basics: The sales tax accounts for abut 22 percent of the city general budget; another 43 percent comes from property tax receipts. The official collection figures are on the state comptroller Web site. The months listed on that site are, for accounting purposes, about two months ahead. Handy clip and save sales tax chart is here.