Carson City's taxable sales fell 8.5 percent in November, while statewide tax numbers were up only 2.8 percent over the same month of 2001, state officials reported Friday.
Douglas and Lyon counties, meanwhile, saw double-digit gains for the month.
Analysts pointed out that November 2001 sales numbers statewide were boosted nearly $60 million by new car sales, as manufacturers offered both price breaks and zero-percent loans to save their new model year from the effects of Sept. 11, 2001.
Auto dealers reported $375 million in sales for November 2001, compared with $319 million the same month of 2000.
As a result, sales in November 2002, although solid, were up only $5 million to $380 million for the month. That is just 1.5 percent.
The soft performance of the state's economy dropped the state another $3.1 million behind the Economic Forum forecast used to build this year's state budget. Nevada is now $15 million behind in sales tax collections for the fiscal year.
To catch up, taxable sales would have to rise 14 percent in each of the next 7 months.
"This is another good indicator that proves that our existing revenue sources are not keeping up with the needs associated with our state's growth," said Guinn.
The flattening of car sales was especially evident in Carson City's numbers. The capital's total taxable sales dropped 8.5 percent and a large chunk of that problem was the $1.1 million decline in auto sales for the month.
But auto sales weren't the only culprit. General merchandise sales were off 33 percent to $11.2 million -- caused in part by the loss of Wal-Mart to Douglas County.
Taxable sales in Carson City were $66.8 million for the month.
The other side of that coin is Douglas County's 13.1 percent overall increase in sales for the month. That is largely due to a 232 percent increase in the same general merchandise and retail category where Carson City lost sales because of Wal-Mart's move. Total sales in Douglas were $47.6 million.
Clark County was up 4.8 percent for the month to $1.9 billion and Washoe increased its total taxable sales 1.2 percent to $426.7 million.
But most of the other counties in the state were down -- seven of them in double digits.
The only other bright spot among the smaller counties was a 20.5 percent gain in Lyon County to $19.7 million. Auto and gasoline sales, general retail and construction materials were all up substantially.
Statewide, the largest increases were reported by eating and drinking places -- up 9.5 percent -- and apparel and accessory stores -- up 18.2 percent.